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" a map of busy life. 

Its fluctuations and its vast concerns." 

" And see what I can show in this 
* ' * • * • 

Strange eventful history." 

The noblest art 
Is that of making others happy. 

—P. T. Barnum. 

The Courier Company, Printers. 




Desiring to bring this History of My Life (of which over a million 
copies have already been sold) within the reach of the poorest purchaser, 
I have determined to have them sold without a profit. By printing many 
thousand copies at one time I have brought the cost down to Fifty cents, 
er Sixty cents, including postage, when sent by mail. Every book will 
be printed on the same quality of paper, have the same binding, the same 
illustrations, and be, in fact, a perfect facsimile of this volume. 

These books may be procured by mail or otherwise from Leggatt 
Brothers, 81 Chambers street, New York, H. E. Bowser, Bridgeport, Ct., 
and in the tents of " The Greatest Show on Earth." 

The Public's Obedient Servant, 


N. B. — This book is not copyrighted. Any and all persons are at liberty 
to publish all or any parts of it. 


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Written originally in 1869, this book is my Recollections of more than 
Fifty Busy Years. Few men in civil life have had a career more crowded 
with incident, enterprise, and various intercourse with the world than 
mine. With the alternations of success and defeat, extensive travel in this 
and foreign lands; a large acquaintance with the humble and honored; 
having held the preeminent place among all who have sought to furnish 
healthful entertainment to the American people, and, therefore, having 
had opportunities for garnering an ample storehouse of incident and anec- 
dote, while, at the same time, needing a sagacity, energy, foresight and 
fortitude rarely required or exhibited in financial affairs, my struggles and 
experiences (it is not altogether vanity in me to think) cannot be without 
interest to my fellow-countrymen. 

Various leading publishers have solicited me to place at their disposal 
my Recollections of what I have been, and seen, and done. These pro- 
posals, together with the partiality of friends and kindred, have constrained 
me to put in a permanent form what, it seems to me, may be instructive, 
entertaining and profitable. 

Thirty years since, for the purpose, principally, of advancing my 
interests as proprietor of the American Museum, I gave to the press some 
personal reminiscences and sketches. They were, however, very hastily, 
and therefore imperfectly, prepared. Though including, necessarily, in 
common with them, some of the facts of my early life, in order to make 
this autobiography a complete and continuous narrative, yet, as the latter 
part of my life has been the more eventful, and my recollections so various 
and abundant, this book is new and independent of the former. It is the 
matured and leisurely reviewing of more than half a century of work and 
struggle, and final success, in spite of fraud and fire — the story of which 
is blended with amusing anecdotes, funny passages, felicitous jokes, cap- 
tivating narratives, novel experiences, and remarkable interviews — the 
sunny and sombre so intermingled as not only to entertain, but convey 
useful lessons to all classes of readers. 


And above and beyond this personal satisfaction, I have thought that the 
review of a life, with the wide contrasts of humble origin and high and 
honorable success; of most formidable obstacles overcome by courage and 
constancy; of affluence that had been patiently won, suddenly wrenched 
away, and triumphantly regained — would be a help and incentive to the 
young man, struggling, it may be, with adverse fortune, or, at the start, 
looking into the future with doubt or despair. 

All autobiographies are necessarily egotistical. If my pages are as 
plentifully sprinkled with "I's," as was the chief ornament of Hood's 
peacock, " who thought he had the eyes of Europe on his tail," I can only 
say, that the " I's " are essential to the story I have told. It has been my 
purpose to narrate, not the life of another, but that career in which I was 
the principal actor. 

There is an almost universal, and not unworthy curiosity to learn the 
methods and measures, the ups and downs, the strifes and victories, the 
mental and moral personnel of those who have taken an active and promi- 
nent part in human affairs. But an autobiography has attractions and 
merits superior to those of a "life" written by another, who, however 
intimate with its subject, cannot know all that helps to give interest and 
accuracy to the narrative, or completeness to the character. The story from 
the actor's own lips has always a charm it can never have when told by 

That my narrative is interspersed with amusing incidents, and even the 
recital of some very practical jokes, is simply because my natural disposi- 
tion impels me to look upon the brighter side of life, and I hope my 
humorous experiences will entertain my readers as much as they were 
enjoyed by myself. And if this record of trials and triumphs, struggles and 
successes, shall stimulate any to the exercise of that integrity, energy, 
industry, and courage in their callings, which will surely lead to happiness 
and prosperity, one main object I have in yielding to the solicitations of 
my friends and my publishers will have been accomplished. 


Waldemekb, Bridoepobt, Conn., 1888 


Chajter I.— My Blrtb -Going to School— First Visit to New York— My Landed Property 
—Trading Moral*— The Bethel Meeting- hooae— Sunday School and Bible Clasa— The 
" One Thing Needful," 17 

Chapter El.— Death of my Grandmother— My Father— Hia Death— Beginning the World 
Barefooted— The Tin Ware and Green Bottle Lottery—" Charity " Hallett— A Norel Fur 
Trade— Country Store Experiences— Old M Uncle Bibblns," 23 

Chapter HI.— My Clerkship in Brooklyn— Opening a Porter-house— Selling Out— My Clerk- 
ship in New York— My Habits— In Bethel Once More— Beginning Business on My Own 
Account— The Lottery Business— Wits and Wags— First Appearance at the Bar— A Model 
Love-letter, 87 

Chapter IV.— Pleasure Visit to Philadelphia-My Marriage— A New Field— My Editorial 
Career— Danbury Jail— My Liberation— Removal to New York— Keeping a Boarding- 
house, 88 

Chapter V.— The Amusement Business — Joice Heth— Beginning Life as a Showman- 
Second Step in the Show Line— Connecting Myself with a Circus— An Abusive Clergyman 
—A Terrible Practical Joke, 87 

Chapter VI.— An Unreasonable Landlord— Turning the Tables— Leaving the Circus— My 
First Traveling Company— Preaching to the People — Escapes from Danger— Outwitting 
a Sheriff— " Lady Hayes 1 "—Joe Pentland as a Savage— A Nonplussed Legerdemain Per- 
former—Disbanding my Company— A New Partnership —The Steamboat "Ceres"— 
Sudden Marriage on Board— Arrival at New Orleans, 43 

Chapter VTI.— Advertising for an Associate— A New Business — Swindled by my Partner- 
Diamond, the Dancer— A New Company— Desertions — Success at New Orleans — Back 
to New York— From Hand to Mouth— Fortune Opening Her Door— The American 
Museum, 60 

Chapter Vm.— I Become Proprietor of the American Museum— Extraordinary Advertising 
—Incidents and Anecdotes— Pleasing my Patrons— A Wilderness of Wonders— Niagara 
Falls with Real Water— The Fejee Mermaid— Wholesale Advertising Again— Drummond 
Lights 55 

Chapter IX.— The Most Popular Place of Amusement in the World— Afternoon and Holi- 
day Performances — Fourth of July Flags— Victory Over the Vestrymen — St. Patrick's 
Day in the Morning— Inpouring of Money— Zoological Eruption— Baby Shows— Grani 
Buffalo Hunt— The Woolly Horse— American Indians— P. T. Barnum Exhibited— A Curi- 
ous Spinster, 62 

Chapter X.— Peale's Museum— Mysterious Mesmerism— The Rival Museums— My Mania— 
My First Interview with Charles S. Stratton— General Tom Thumb In New York— An 
Apt Pupil— Free From Debt^In Search of a New Field— Arrival at Liverpool— Exhibition 
of General Tom Thumb in Liverpool, 70 

Chapter XI.— Arrival In London— Enormous Success— Dally Levees for the Nobility and 
Gentry— At Buckingham Palace — A Royal Reception— Favorable Impression— Amusing 
Incidents of the Visit— Second Visit to the Queen— The General's Watch— Napoleon and 
the Duke of Wellingtoa— Third Visit to the Queen 74 


Chapter XII.— In France— The General and Party In Paris— Visit to King Louis Phillippe— 
A Splendid Present— Long Champs— The General's Equipage— All Paris in a Furor- 
Second, Third and Fourth Visits to the King of the French— "Tom Police" Every- 
where— The General as an Actor 81 

Chapter XIIL— In Belgium— Professor Pinte— At Brussels— Presentation to King Leopold 
—The General's Jewels Stolen— The Field of Waterloo — An Accident — Losing an Exhi- 
bition—The Custom of the Country— How Relics are Planted at Waterloo— From Brussels 
to London, 88 

Chapter XIV. — In England Again— Levees in Egyptian Hall— Going to America — Samuel 
Rogers— An Astonished Railway Superintendent — Business and Pleasure — Albert Smith— 
Stratford-on-Avon— Albert Smith as a Showman— The Road from Warwick to Coventry 
—The Yankee Go-ahead Principle, 87 

Chapter XV.— The Wizard of the North— Second Visit to the United States—" The Rules 
of the Ship "—Three Years in Europe— Warm Personal Friends— Our Last Performance 
in Dublin— Departure for America— Note— Deaths of Friends 92 

Chapter XVI.— Renewing the Lease of the Museum Building— Tom Thumb in America- 
Tour Through the Country— Ceasing to be a Traveling Showman— Return to Bridgeport 
— Search for a Home — Building and Completion of lranistan— The Baltimore and Phila- 
delphia Museums— My Agricultural and Arborcultural Doings, 95 

Chapter XVTL— The Jenny Lind Engagement— Musical Notes in Wall street— A Friend in 
Need .100 

Chapter XV III.— Arrival of Jenny Lind— Tremendous Throng at the Wharf— " Welcome 
to America "'— The Prize Ode by Bayard Taylor— First Concert in Castle Garden— Un- 
bounded Enthusiasm, 105 

Chapter XEX.— Managing Public Opinion— Miss Lind's Charities— The Nightingale at 
lranistan— Avoiding Crowds— In Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington— Visit to Mt. 
Vernon— Christmas and New Year— We go to Havana— A Happy Month in Cuba, . Ill 

Chapter XX.— A Magnificent Triumph— Benefit for the Hospitals— Vivalla and his Dog- 
Voyage to New Orleans— The Editor of the New York Herald on Board— Arrival at the 
Crescent City— Up the Mississippi— Amusements on Board, 117 

Chapter XXI.— Arrival at St. Louis— A Surprising Proposition— Temperance Lecture- 
Sol. Smith— Unique Dedication— Jenny Lind's Character and Charities, 123 

Chapter XXH— Visit to the " Hermitage "— " April-fool " Fun— The Mammoth Cave— Ruse 
at Cincinnati— Return to New York— The Final Concerts in Castle Garden and Metro- 
politan Hall— Jenny's Concerts on Her Own Account— Her Marriage to Mr. Otto Gold- 
tschmidt— At Home Again— Total Receipts of the Concerts, 127 

Chapter XXIII.— Another Venture— General Tom Thumb— Elephant Plowing— Side-shows 
and Various Enterprises— Catherine Hayes— lranistan on Fire— My Eldest Daughter's 
Marriage, 132 

Chapter XXTV.— Vacations at Home— Country Agricultural Society— Philosophy of Hum- 
bug—A Chop-fallen Ticket-seller— A Deluded Hack-driver — Pequonnock Bank— The 
Hiustrated News— The Crystal Palace, 137 

Chapter XXV.— The East Bridgeport Enterprise — Clock Company in Litchfield — The 
Jerome Clock Company— A Ruined Man— Paying Honest Debts— My Failure— Down 
in the Depths, 143 

Chapter XXVI.— Friends to the Rescue— Citizens' Meeting in Bridgeport— My Letter on 
the Situation— The Silver Lining to the Cloud— Our New Home in New York, . . 148 

Chapter XXVH.— Sale of the Museum Collection— Supplementary Proceedings of my Cred- 
itors—The Summer Season on Long Island— A Black Whale Pays my Summer's Board 
—The Wheeler and Wilson Sewing Machine Company Remove to East Bridgeport— The 
Cause of my Ruin Promises to be my Redemption— Setting Sail for England, . . . 154 


Chapter XXVHL— Old Friends in Old England— Otto Goldachmidt and Jenny Lind Gold- 
schmidt— My Exhibitions in England, 167 

Chapter XXTX.— From London to Baden-Baden— Strasbourg — Scene in a German Custom- 
house— Golden Prices for the General — A Call from the King of Holland— Down the 
Rhine— Departure for Holland, 180 

Chapter XXX.— The Finest and Flattest Country in the World— Habits and Customs— 
The Hague — August Belmont— Back to England — I Return again to America — Fun on 
the Voyage— Cold Shoulders in New York— Iranistan Burned to the Ground, ... 168 

Chapter XXXX— Back Once More to England— Tour Through Scotland and Wales— How 
I Came to Lecture— How to Make Money and How to Keep it— Lecturing in the Prov- 
inces, 168 

Chapter XXXTL— An English Yankee— Dinner to Tom Thumb and Commodore Nutt— 
Measuring a Monster— The Steam-engines "Barnum" and "Charity," 192 

Chapter XXXIH.— At Home — Barnum on his Feet Again — Re-purchase of the Museum— 
My Reception by my Friends— Museum Visitors— Old and Fast Friends, 196 

Chapter XXXIV.— A Remarkable Character— Old Grizzly Adams— Tour of the Bear-tamer 
Through the Country— A Life and Death Struggle for a Wager — Old Adams Wins — His 
Death— The Prince of Wales Visits the Museum— I Call on the Prince in Boston— The 
Museum Flourishing, 202 

Chapter XXXV.— East Bridgeport— Another New Home— Lindencroft— Progress of my 
Pet City— Inducements to Settlers— Situation of Bridgeport— Its Advantages and Pros- 
pects .... 207 

Chapter XXXVI.— More About the Museum— My First Whaling Expedition— Transporting 
Living Whales by Land— The First Hippopotamus in America — Commodore Nutt — Indian 
Chiefs, 211 

Chapter XXXVTL— Miss Lavinia Warren— The Little Commodore in Love— Tom Thumb 
Smitten— Jealousy of the General— Miss Warren Impressed— Popping the Question— The 
Engagement— The Wedding— A Spicy Letter— Grand Reception of Mr. and Mrs. Stratton 
—The Commodore in Search of a Green Country Girl, 217 

Chapter XXXVTH.— My Political Principles— Lindencroft— My Election to the Legislature 
—My War on Railroad Monopolies— The XIV. Amendment 229 

Chapter XXXIX.— Burning of the American Museum— A Public Calamity— Detention to 
Retire to Private Life — The New Up-town Museum, 241 

Chapter XL.— Propositions for a New Capital of Connecticut— The Railroad Controversy— 
My Victory— Again Elected to the Legislature— Friends at Lindencroft, . , . .247 

Chapter XLL— The American Museum Lease— Its Value— Bennett of the Herald Buys it 
for $200,000— The Herald's Influence and Hard Experience— Bennett Refuses my Adver 
tisements— Bennett Humbled— Damage to Bennett's Establishment— Peace, ... 253 

Chapter XLTL— At the West— A Ride on a Locomotive— Tricks to Secure Seats in the 
Ladies' Car— How I Became a Teetotaler— Lecturing Throughout the Country, . . 257 

Chapter XLIII.— A Gigantic Amusement Company — Curiosities from Everywhere— A 
Superb Menagerie— Destruction of my Second Museum by Fire— Foot Races at the White 
Mountains, .264 

Chapter XLTV.— Popular Superstitions— Number Thirteen— Thirteen in Every Hotel, 269 

Ohapter XLV.— Interest in Public Improvements— The Eye of Faith— Opening of Sea- 

Side Park 


Chapter XLVL— Plans for the Public Benefit in Bridgeport— Sale of Lindencroft— Living 
in a Farm-house — Waldemere %jq 

Xll C0NTE*TT8. 

Chajtzb XLVTL— A New Experience— M Doing Nothing"— A Failure — Excitement De 
manded— Visit of English Friends— I Show Them Our Country— Trip to California— Salt 
Lake City— Brighmm Young — Sacramento and San Francisco — Admiral Dot — Wild Buffalo 
Hunt in Kansas— My Great TraTeling Show— Trip to Colorado — Fourteenth Street Hip- 
podrome — A Brilliant Audience— Departure for the South— News of the Conflagration- 
Speech at the Academy— An Expensive Exhibition— A Pleasant Episode— An Ocean 
Voyage— The Vienna Exhibition— Death of Mrs. Barnum, 281 

Chapter XLVHL— The Roman Hippodrome— An Enthusiastic Reception— Resting at Wal- 
demere — A Complimentary Dinner— Interesting Letters and Speeches, 299 

Chaptm XLIX.— Success of my Traveling Hippodrome — My Second Marriage — P. T. 
Barnum Exhibiting a Live King— Elected Mayor of Bridgeport— The Centennial— Pro- 
fessor Donaldson— Close of the Season— The Hippodrome Sold at Auction — The New 
Traveling Show — My Valedictory Message as Mayor of Bridgeport 80ft 

Chapter L.— Breakfast with Lord Rosebery and Mr. Tupper— My Show in Nova Scotia 
and elsewhere— My New Book "Lion Jack" — Death of my Youngest Daughter— Mi- 
Visit to England— Lecturing there— The London World's Description of my Home and 
Habits in Bridgeport— Fatal Accident to the Advertisers of my Great Show— Visit to 
Colorado — My third Election to, and Doings in, the Connecticut Legislature— Building a 
Dyke— Byronic Poetry thereon— My fourth Election to the General Assembly of Con- 
necticut, 315 

Chapter LI.— Bergh Vanquished— Transformation Scene — Baby Elephant — The Great Alii 
ance— Winter Quarters of the Great Barnum-London Show— Valley of the Shadow of 
Death— Four Pullman Carloads of Editors— Torch-light Procession and Grand OpeniDg 
— Testimonials from Garfield and Arthur— My Voyage to Europe— Presentation of Foun- 
tain to Bethel 223 

Chapter LH.— Another Baby Elephant— Jumbo, the Greatest of the Great— Visit to 
England— Irving Dinner— George Augustus Sala— Barnum more than half English, 330 

Chapter LIII— Visit to Europe— Sir Charles Lees— Mackay, the Millionaire— Death of Tom 
Thumb— Enormous Show Receipts— " Barnum inJMtishland" — Almost my Obituary— 
The Sacred White Elephant— The Show in 1884— How a Mean Town got Left— Opening 
of the Barnum Natural History Museum, at Tuft's College, Boston— I offer Geu. Grant 
One Hundred Thousand Dollars and Valuable Inducement— Reception of Letter from 
Burmah addressed, " Mr. Barnum, America." 335 

Chapter LIV.— The Show in 1S85— Elephant Albert Sentenced to Death and Shot— Death 
of Jumbo— His Skin Stuffed and His Skeleton prepared for Exhibition— Jumbo's Size- 
Purchase of Aliee, Jumbo's Widow— I visit the Show incognito— Withdrawal of my 
Partners, Messrs. Hutchinson, Cole and Cooper— Death of Jenny Lind, .... 344 

Chapter LV.— The Church and Circus— The Mission of the Circus— Morality of Employees 
—Speaking in Church— Indorsed by the Clergy and Religious Press— Bust for the Smith- 
bonian Institute — Mr. Henry Bergh's Indorsement, 34^ 

Chapter LVI— Burning of the Winter Quarters at Bridgeport, Conn.— Mrs. Gilligan and 
the Lion— Death of the White Elephant and Alice— Growth of the City of Bridgeport- 
Inauguration of Bridgeport Hospital— I give two Gold Prize Medals annually to Students 
in Bridgeport High School— Opening of Sea Side Institute— My Gift to Sea Side Park, £52 


1. PORTRAIT OF P. T. BARNUM Frontispiece. 

































34. WALDEMERE 278 









illf m •;' l<::-~' ■ ;I| 



1 was born in the town of Bethel, in the State of Connecticut, July 5, 1810. My 
iiaine, Phineas Taylor, is derived from my maternal grandfather, who was a 
great wag in his way, and who, as I was his first grandchild, handed over to his 
daughter Irena, my mother, at my christening, a gift-deed, in my behalf, of five 
arres of land, called "Ivy Island," situated in that part of the parish of Bethel 
known as the "Plum Trees." 

My father, Philo Barnum, was the son of Ephraim Barnum, of Bethel, who 
was a captain in the revolutionary war. My father was a tailor, a farmer, and 
sometimes a tavern-keeper, and my advantages and disadvantages were such as 
fall to the general run of farmers' boys. I drove cows to and from the pasture, 
shelled corn, weeded the garden; as I grew larger I rode horse for ploughing, 
turned and raked hay ; in due time I handled the shovel and the hoe, and when I 
could do so I went to school. 

I was six years old when I began to go to school, and the first date I remember 
inscribing upon my writing-book was 1818. The ferule, in those days, was the 
assistant school-master. I was a willing, and, I think, a pretty apt scholar. In 
arithmetic I was unusually ready and accurate, and I remember, at the age of 
ten years, being called out of bed one night by my teacher, who had wagered 
with a neighbor that I could calculate the correct number of feet in a load of 
wood in five minutes. The dimensions given, I figured out the result in less t ha n 
two minutes, to the great delight of my teacher and to the equal astonishment of 
nis neighbor. 

My organ of "acquisitiveness" was manifest at an early age. Before I was 
five years of age I began to accumulate pennies and "four-pences," and when I 
was six years old my capital amounted to a sum sufficient to exchange for a sil- 
ver dollar, the possession of which made me feel far richer than I have ever since 
felt in the world. 

Nor did my dollar long remain alone. As I grew older I earned ten cents 
a day for riding the horse which led the ox-team in ploughing, and on holi- 
days and "training days," instead of spending money, I earned it. I was a 
small peddler of molasses candy (of home make), ginger-bread, cookies and cherry 
rum, and I generally found myself a dollar or two richer at the end of a holiday 
than I was at the beginning. By the time I w s twelve years old, besides other 
property, I was the owner of a sheep and a calf, and should soon, no doubt, have 
become a small Croesus, had not my father kindly permitted me to purchase my 
own clothing, which somewhat reduced my little store. 

When I was nearly twelve years old I made my first visit to the metropolis. 
It happened in this wise : Late one afternoon in January, 1822, Mr. Daniel 
Brown, of Southbury, Connecticut, arrived at my father's tavern, in Bethel 
with some fat cattle he was driving to New York to sell, and put up for the night 
After supper hearing Mr. Brown say to my father that he intended to buy more 



cattle, and that he would be glad to hire a boy to assist in driving them, I im 
mediately besought my father to secure the situation for me, and he did so. My 
mother's consent was gained, and at daylight next morning, I started on foot in 
the midst of a heavy snow storm to help drive the cattle. Before reaching Ridge- 
field, I was sent on horseback after a stray ox, and, in galloping, the horse fell 
and my ankle was sprained. I suffered severely, but did not complain lest my 
employer should send me back. We arrived at New York, in three or f our days, 
and put up at the Bull's Head Tavern, where we were to stay a week while 
the drover disposed of his cattle. It was an eventful week for me. Before I left 
home my mother had given me a dollar which I supposed would supply every 
want that heart could wish. My first outlay was for oranges which I was told 
were four pence apiece, and as "four pence" in Connecticut was six cents, I 
offered ten cents for two oranges, which was of course readily taken ; and thus, 
instead of saving two cents, as I thought, I actually paid two cents more than 
the price demanded. I then bought two more oranges, reducing my capital to 
eighty cents. Thirty-one cents was the "charge" for a small gun which would 
"go off" and send a stick some little distance, and this gun I bought. Amusing 
myself with this toy in the bar-room of the Bull's Head, the arrow happened to 
hit the bar-keeper, who forthwith came from behind the counter and shook me, 
and soundly boxed my ears, telling me to put that gun out of the way or he 
would put it into the fire. I sneaked to my room, put my treasure under the 
pillow, and went out for another visit to the toy shop. 

There I invested six cents in "torpedoes," with which I intended to astonish 
my schoolmates in Bethel. I could not refrain, however, from experimenting 
upon the guests of the hotel, which I did when they were going in to dinner. I 
threw two of the torpedoes against the wall of the hall through which the guests 
were passing, and the immediate results were as follows : two loud reports, — 
astonished guests,— irate landlord, — discovery of the culprit, and summary pun- 
ishment — for the landlord immediately floored me with a single blow with his 
open hand, and said : 

" There, you little greenhorn, see if that will teach you better than to explode 
your infernal fire-crackers in my house again." 

The lesson was sufficient if not entirely satisfactory. I deposited the balance 
of the torpedoes with my gun, and as a solace for my wounded feelings I again 
visited the toy shop, where I bought a watch, breastpin and top, leaving but 
eleven cents of my original dollar. 

The following morning found me again at the fascinating toy shop, where I 
saw a beautiful knife with two blades, a gimlet, and a corkscrew, — a whole 
carpenter shop in nainiature, and all for thirty-one cents. But, alas! I had only 
eleven cents. Have that knife I must, however, and so I proposed to the shop- 
woman to take back the top and breastpin at a slight deduction, and with my 
eleven cents to let me have the knife. The kind creature consented, and this 
makes memorable my first " swap." Some fine and nearly white molasses candy 
then caught my eye, and I proposed to trade the watch for its equivalent in candy. 
The transaction was made and the candy was so delicious that before night my 
gun was absorbed in the same way. The next morning the torpedoes " went off " 
in the same direction, and before night even my beloved knife was similarly 
exchanged. My money and my goods all gone, I traded two pocket handker 
chiefs and an extra pair of stockings I was sure I should not want for nine more 
rolls of molasses candy, and then wandered about the city disconsolate, si^hinc 
because there was no more molasses candy to conquer. 


I doubt not that in these first wanderings about the city I often passed the 
eorner of Broadway and Ann street — never dreaming of the stir I was destined 
at a future day to make in that locality as proprietor and manager of the 
American Museum. 

After wandering, gazing and wondering for a week, Mr. Brown took me in 
his sleigh and on the evening of the following day we arrived in BetheL I had 
a thousand questions to answer, and for a long time I was quite a lion among my 
mates because I had seen the great metropolis. My brothers and sisters, how- 
ever, were much disappointed at my not bringing them something from my 
dollar, and when my mother examined my wardrobe and found two pocket 
handkerchiefs and one pair of stockings missing she whipped me and sent me to 
bed. Thus ingloriously terminated my first visit to New York. 

Previous to my visit to New York, I think it was in 1820, when I was ten years 
of age, I made my first expedition to my landed property, " Ivy Island." From 
the time when I was four years old I was continually hearing of this " property." 
My grandfather always spoke of me (in my presence) to the neighbors and to 
■trangers as the richest child in town, since I owned the whole of " Ivy Island," 
one of the most valuable farms in the State. My father and mother frequently 
reminded me of my wealth and hoped I would do something for the family when 
I attained my majority. The neighbors professed to fear that I might refuse to 
play with their children because I had inherited so large a property. 

These constant allusions, for several years, to "Ivy Island" excited at once my 
pride and my curiosity and stimulated me to implore my father's permission to 
visit my property. At last, he promised I should do so in a few days, as we 
should be getting some hay near " Ivy Island." The wished for day arrived and 
my father told me that as we were to mow an adjoining meadow, I might visit 
my property in company with the hired man during the " nooning." My grand- 
father reminded me that it was to his bounty I was indebted for this wealth, and 
that had not my name been Phineas I might never have been proprietor of " Ivy 
Island." To this my mother added : 

"Now, Taylor, don't become so excited when you see your property as to let 
your joy make you sick, for remember, rich as you are, that it will be eleven 
years before you can come into possession of your fortune." ^ 

She added much more good advice, to all of which I promised to be calm and 
reasonable and not to allow my pride to prevent me from speaking to my brothers 
and sisters when I returned home. 

When we arrived at the meadow, which was in that part of the M Plum Trees" 
known as " East Swamp," I asked my father where " Ivy Island " was. 

"Yonder, at the north end of this meadow, where you see those beautiful trees 
rising in the distance." 

All the forenoon I turned grass as fast as two men could cut it, and after a 
hasty repast at noon, one of our hired men, a good natured Irishman, named 
Edmund, took an axe on his shoulder and announced that he was ready to 
accompany me to "Ivy Island." "We started, and as we approached the north 
end of the meadow we found the ground swampy and wet and were soon obliged 
to leap from bog to bog on our route. A mis-step brought me up to my middle 
in water, and to add to the dilemma a swarm of hornets attacked me. Attain- 
ing the altitude of another bog I was cheered by the assurance that there was 
only a quarter of a mile of this kind of travel to the edge of my property. I 
waded on. In about fifteen minutes more, after floundering through the morass, 
I found myself half -drowned, hornet-stung, mud-covered, and out of breath, on 
comparatively dry land. 


"Never mind, my boy," said Edmund, " we have only to cross this little creek, 
and ye'll be upon your own valuable property." 

We were on the margin of a stream, the banks of which were thickly covered 
with alders. I now discovered the use of Edmund's axe, for he felled a small oak 
to form a temporary bridge to my "Island" property. Crossing over, I pro- 
ceeded to the center of my domain. I saw nothing but a few stunted ivies 
and straggling trees. The tnith flashed upon me. I had been the laugh- 
ing-stock of the family and neighborhood for years. My valuable " Ivy Island" 
was an almost inaccessible, worthless bit of barren land, and while I stood deplor- 
ing my sudden downfall, »» huge black snake (one of my tenants) approached 
me with upraised head. I gave one shriek and rushed for the bridge.* 

This was my first and 1 «st visit to " Ivy Island." My father asked me " how 
I liked my property ? " 8nd I responded that I would sell it pretty cheap. 

As I grew older my settled aversion to manual labor, farm or other kind, was 
manifest in various wpys, which were set down to the general score of laziness. 
In despair of doing better with me, my father concluded to make a merchant of 
me. He erected a building in Bethel, and with Mr. Hiram "Weed as a partner, 
purchased a stock of dry goods, hardware, groceries, and general notions and 
installed rae as clerk in this country store. 

We fcppt a cash, credit and barter store, and I drove sharp bargains with 
women who brought butter, eggs, beeswax and feathers to exchange for dry 
goods, and with men who wanted to trade oats, corn, buckwheat, axe-helves, 
hats, and other commodities for tenpenny nails, molasses, or New England rum. 
It ^as a drawback upon my dignity that I was obliged to take down the shutters, 
sweep the store, and make the fire. I received a small salary for my services 
and the perquisites of what profit I could derive from purchasing candies on my 
own account to sell to our younger customers, and, as usual, my father stipulated 
toat I should clothe myself. 

There is a great deal to be learned in a country store, and principally this— 
lhat sharp trades, tricks, dishonesty and deception are by no means confined to 
the city. More than once, in cutting open bundles of rags, brought to be 
exchanged for goods, and warranted to be all linen and cotton, I have discovered 
in the interior worthless woolen trash and sometimes stones, gravel or ashes. 
Sometimes, too, when measuring loads of oats, corn or rye, declared to contain 
a specified number of bushels, say sixty, I have found them four or five bushels 
short. In the evenings and on wet days trade was always dull and at such 
bimes the story-telling and joke-playing wits and wags of the village used to 
tssemble in our store, and from them I derived considerable amusement, if not 
profit. After the store was closed at night, I frequently joined some of the 
village boys at the houses of their parents, where, with story-telling and play, a 
couple of hours would soon pass by, and then as late, perhaps, as eleven o'clock, 
I went home and slyly crept up stairs so as not to awaken my brother with 
whom I slept, and who would be sure to report my late hours. He made every 
attempt, and laid all sorts of plans to catch me on my return, but as sleep always 
overtook him, I managed easily to elude his efforts. 

Like most people in Connecticut in those days, I was brought up to attend 
church regularly on Sunday, and long before I could read I was a prominent 
scholar in the Sunday schooL My good mother taught me my lessons in the New 
Testament and the Catechism, and my every effort was directed to win one of 

♦See illustration, page 82, 


those "Rewards of Merit," which promised to pay the bearer one mill, so that 
ten of these prizes amounted to one cent, and one hundred of them, which might 
be won by faithful assiduity every Sunday for two years, would buy a Sunday 
school book worth ten cents. Such were the magnificent rewards held out to the 
religious ambition of youth in those days. 

There was but one church or "meeting-house" in Bethel, which all attended, 
sinking all differences of creed in the Presbyterian faith. The old meeting- 
house had neither steeple nor bell and was a plain edifice, comfortable enough m 
summer, but my teeth chatter even now when I think of the dreary, cold, freez- 
ing hours we passed in that place in winter. A stove in a meeting-house in those 
days would have been a sacrilegious innovation. The sermons were from an hour 
and one-half to two hours long, and through these the congregation would sit 
and shiver till they really merited the title the profane gave them of "blue 
skins." Some of the women carried a "foot-stove" consisting of a small square 
tin box in a wooden frame, the sides perforated, and in the interior there was a 
small square iron dish, which contained a few five coals covered with ashes. 
These stoves were usually replenished just before meeting time at some neigh- 
bor's near the meeting-house. 

After many years of shivering and suffering, one of the brethren had the 
temerity to propose that the church should be warmed with a stove. His impious 
proposition was voted down by an overwhelming majority. Another year came 
wound, and in November the stove question was again brought up. The excite- 
ment was immense. The subject was discussed in the village stores and in the 
juvenile debating club ; it was prayed over in conferenco ; and finally in general 
"society's meeting," in December, the stove was carried by a majority of one 
and was introduced into the meeting-house. On the first Sunday thereafter, two 
ancient maiden ladies were so oppressed by the dry and heated atmosphere 
occasioned by the wicked innovation, that they fainted away and were carried 
out into tho cool air where they speedily returned to consciousness, especially 
when they were informed that owing to the lack of two lengths of pipe, no fire 
bad yet been made in the stove. The next Sunday was a bitter cold day, and 
the stove, filled with well-seasoned hickory, was a great gratification to the 
many, and displeased only a few. 

During the Rev. Mr. Lowe's ministrations at Bethel, he formed a Bible class, 
of which I was a member. We used to draw promiscuously from a hat a text of 
scripture and write a composition on the text, which compositions were read after 
service in the afternoon, to such of the congregation as remained to hear the 
exercises of the class. Once, I remember, I drew the text, Luke x. 42 : "But 
one thing is needful; and Mary hath chosen that good part which shall not be 
taken away from her." Question, "What is the one thing needful?" My answer 
was nearly as follows : 

" This question ' what is the one thing needful ? ' is capable of receiving various 
answers, depending much upon the persons to whom it is addressed. The mer- 
chant might answer that ' the one thing needful ' is plenty of customers, who buy 
liberally, without beating down and pay cash for all their purchases. ' The 
farmer might reply, that ' the one thing needful is large harvests and high prices.' 
The physician might answer that 'it is plenty of patients.' The lawyer might 
be of opinion that ' it is an unruly community, always engaging in bickerings 
and litigations. ' The clergyman might reply, ' It is a fat salary with multitudes 
of sinners seeking salvation and paying large pew rents.' The bachelor might 
exclaim, ' It is a pretty wife who loves her husband, and who knows how to sew 


on buttons.' The maiden might answer, 'It is a good husband, who will lore, 
cherish and protect me while life shall last.' But the most proper answer, and 
doubtless that which applied to the case of Mary, would be, 'The one thing 
needful is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, follow in his footsteps, love God 
and obey His commandments, love our fellow-man, and embrace every oppor- 
tunity of administering to his necessities. ' In short, ' the one thing needful ' is to 
live a life that we can always look back upon with satisfaction, and be enabled 
ever to contemplate its termination with trust in Him who has so kindly vouch- 
safed it to us, surrounding us with innumerable blessings, if we have but the 
heart and wisdom to receive them in a proper manner." 

The reading of a portion of this answer occasioned some amusement in the 
congregation, in which the clergyman himself joined, and the name of "Taylor 
Barnum" was whispered in connection with the composition; but at the close of 
the reading I had the satisfaction of hearing Mr. Lowe say that it was a well 
written answer to the question, " What is the one thing needful? " 



AT THE AGE OF 78. See page 23. 



Ik the month of August, 1825, my maternal grandmother met with an accident 
in stepping on the point of a rusty nail, and, though the incident was at first con- 
sidered trivial, it resulted in her death. Alarming symptoms soon made her 
sensible that she was on her death-bed ; and while she was in full possession of 
her faculties, the day before she died she sent for her grandchildren to take final 
leave of them. I shall never forget the sensations I experienced when she took 
me by the hand and besought me to lead a religious life, and especially to remem- 
ber that I could in no way so effectually prove my love to God as by loving all 
my fellow-beings. The impressions of that death-bed scene have ever been among 
my most vivid recollections, and I trust they have proved in some degree 

My father, for his time and locality, was a man of much enterprise. He could, 
and actually did, " keep a hotel ;" he had a livery stable and ran, in a small way, 
what in our day would be called a Norwalk Express ; and he also kept a country 
store. With greater opportunities and a larger field for his efforts and energies, 
he might have been a man of mark and means. Not that he was successful, for 
he never did a profitable business ; but I, who saw him in his various pursuits, 
and acted as his clerk, caught something of his enterprising spirit, and, perhaps 
without egotism, I may say I inherited that characteristic. My business educa- 
tion was as good as the limited field afforded, and I soon put it to account and 

On the 7th of September, 1825, my father, who had been sick since the month 
of March, died at the age of forty-eight years. My mother was left with five 
children, of whom I, at fifteen years of age, was the eldest, while the youngest 
was but seven. It was soon apparent that my father had provided nothing for 
the support of his family ; his estate was insolvent, and did not pay fifty cents 
on the dollar. My mother, by economy, industry, and perseverance, succeeded 
in a few years afterwards in redeeming the homestead and becoming its sole 
possessor ; but, at the date of the death of my father, the world looked gloomy 
indeed ; the few dollars I had accumulated and loaned to my father, holding his 
note therefor, were decided to be the property of a minor, belonging to the 
father and so to the estate, and my small claim was ruled out. I was obliged to 
get trusted for the pair of shoes I wore to my father's funeral I literally began 
the world with nothing, and was barefooted at that. 

I went to Grassy Plain, a mile northwest of Bethel, and secured a situation as 
clerk in the store of James S. Keeler & Lewis Whitlock at six dollars a month 
and my board. I lived with Mrs. Jerusha Wheeler and her daughters, Jerusha 
and Mary, and found an excellent home. I chose my uncle, Alanson Taylor, as 
my guardian. I soon gained the confidence and esteem of my employers; they 
afforded me many faculties for making money on my own account, and I soon 
entered upon sundry speculations and succeeded in getting a small sum of money 



I made a very remarkable trade at one time for my employers by purchasing, 
in their absence, a whole wagon-load of green glass bottles of various sizes, for 
which I paid in unsalable goods at very profitable prices. How to dispose of the 
bottles was then the problem, and as it was also desirable to get rid of a large 
quantity of tin- ware which had been in the shop for years and was considerably 
'shop-worn," I conceived the idea of a lottery in which the highest prize should 
be twenty-five dollars, payable in any goods the winner desired, while there were 
to be fifty prizes of five dollars each, payable in goods, to be designated in the 
scheme. Then there were one hundred prizes of one dollar each, one hundred 
prizes of fifty cents each, and three hundred prizes of twenty-five cents each. It 
is unnecessary to state that the minor prizes consisted mainly of glass and tin- 
ware; the tickets sold like wildfire, and the worn tin and glass bottles were 
speedily turned into cash. 

As my mother continued to keep the village tavern at Bethel, I usually went 
home on Saturday night and stayed till Monday morning, going to church with 
my mother on Sunday. This habit was the occasion of an adventure of momen- 
tous consequence to me. One Saturday evening, during a violent thunder shower, 
Miss Mary Wheeler, a milliner, sent me word that there was a girl from Bethel 
at her house, who had come up on horseback to get a new bonnet ; that she 
was afraid to go back alone ; and if I was going to Bethel that evening she 
wished me to escort her customer. I assented, and went over to "Aunt Rushia's" 
where I was introduced to "Chairy" (Charity) Hallett, a fair, rosy-cheeked, 
buxom girl, with beautiful white teeth. I assisted her to her saddle, and, mount- 
ing my own horse, we trotted towards Bethel. 

My first impressions of this girl as I saw her at the house were exceedingly 
favorable. As soon as we started I began a conversation with her, and, finding 
her very affable, I regretted that the distance to Bethel was not five miles instead 
of one. A flash of lightning gave me a distinct view of the face of my fair com- 
panion, and then I wished the distance was twenty miles. During our ride I 
learned that she was a tailoress, working with Mr. Zerah Benedict, of Bethel. 
The next day I saw her at church, and, indeed, many Sundays afterwards, but 1 
had no opportunity to renew the acquaintance that season. 

Mrs. Jerusha Wheeler, with whom I boarded, and her daughter Jerusha were 
familiarly known, the one as " Aunt Rushia," and the other as " Rushia," Many 
of our store customers were hatters, and among the many kinds of furs we sold 
for the nap of hats was one known to the trade as " Russia," One day a hatter, 
Walter Dibble, called to buy some furs. I sold him several kinds, including 
"beaver" and " cony," and he then asked for some "Russia." We had none, and, 
as I wanted to play a joke upon him, I told him that Mrs. Wheeler had several 
uundred pounds of "Rushia." 

" What on earth is a woman doing with ' Russia ? ' " said he. 

I could not answer, but I assured him that there were one hundred and thirty 
pounds of old Rushia and one hundred and fifty pounds of young Rushia in Mrs. 
Wheeler's house, and under her charge, but whether or not it was for sale I could 
not say. Off he started to make the purchase and knocked at the door. Mrs. 
Wheeler, the elder, made her appearance. 

" I want to get your Russia," said the hatter. 

Mrs. Wheeler asked him to walk in and be seated. She, of course, supposed 
that he had come for her daughter " Rushia." 

" What do you want of Rushia?" asked the old lady. 

" To make hats," was the reply. 

PHINEAS TAYLOR. See P a s e J 7- 


"To trim hats, I suppose you mean.'" responded Mi's. Wheeler. 

"No, for the outside of hats," repLied the hatter. 

"Well, I dou't know much about hats,'' said the old lady, "but I will call my 

Passing into another room where "Rushia" the younger was at work, she 
informed her that a man wanted her to make hats. 

"Oh, he means sister Mary, probably. I suppose he wants some ladies' hats.' 
replied Rushia, as she went into the parlor. 

" This is my daughter," said the old lady. 

"I want to get your Russia," said he, addressing the young lady. 

"I suppose you wish to see my sister Mary ; she is our miUiner," said young 

" I wish to see whoever owns the property," said the hatter. 

Sister Mary was sent for, and, as she was introduced, the hatter informed hei 
that he wished to buy her " Russia." 

" Buy Rushia! " exclaimed Mary in surprise ; " I don't understand you." 

" Your name is Miss Wheeler, I believe," said the hatter, who was annoyed by 
the difficulty he met with in being understood 

"It is, sir." 

"Ah: very well. Is there old and young Russia in the housed" 

"I believe there is," said Mary, surprised at the familiar manner hi which h- 
spoke of her mother and sister, who were present. 

" What is the prico of old Russia per pound? " asked the hatter. 

" I believe, sir, that old Rushia is not for sale," replied Mary indignantly. 

" Well, what do you ask for young Russia? " pursued the hatter. 

" Sir," said Miss Rushia the younger, springing to her feet, " do you come hen- 
to insult defenceless females ? If you do, sir, our brother, who is hi the garden 
will punish you as you deserve." 

" Ladies! " exclaimed the hatter, in astonishment, " what on earth have I don* 
to offend you? I came here on a business matter. I want to buy some Russia 
I was told you had old and young Russia in the house. Indeed, this young lad) 
just stated such to be the fact, but she says the old Russia is not for sale. Now 
if I can buy the young Russia I want to do so — but if that can't be done, pleas* 
to say so and I will trouble you no further." 

"Mother, open the door and let this man go out : he is undoubtedly crazy,' 
said Miss Mary. 

" By thunder! I believe I shall be if I remain here long," exclaimed the hatter 
considerably excited. "I wonder if folks never do business in these parts, thai 
you think a man is crazy if he attempts such a thing?" 

" Business! poor man!" said Mary soothingly, approaching the door. 

"I am not a poor man, madam," replied the hatter. "My name is Waltei 
Dibble ; 1 carry on hatting extensively in Danbury ; I came to Grassy Plain to 
buy fur, and have purchased some 'beaver' and 'cany,' and now it seems I am 
to be called ' crazy ' and a ' poor man,' because I want to buy a little ' Russia ' to 
make up my assortment." 

The ladies began to open their eyes; they saw that Mr. Dibble was quite i" 
earnest, and his explanation threw considerable light upon the subject. 

" Who sent you here?" asked sister Maty. 

"The clerk at the opposite store," was the reply. 

•• Fie is a wicked young fellow for making all this trouble," said '.he o]<l lady 
' he has been doing this for a joke." 


•'A joke! " exclaimed Dibble, in surprise. " Have you no Russia, then? " 

"My name is Jerusha, and so is my daughter's," said Mrs. Wheeler, "and that, 
1 suppose, is what he meant by telling you about old and young Rushia." 

Mr. Dibble bolted through the door without another word and made directly 
for our store. " You young scamp ! " said he, as he entered ; "what did you mean 
by sending me over there to buy Russia? " 

" I did not send you to buy Rushia ; I supposed you were either a bachelor or 
widower and wanted to marry Rushia," I replied, with a serious countenance. 

" You lie, you young dog, and you know it ; but never mind, I'll pay you off 
some day ; " and taking his furs, he departed with less ill-humor than could ha^ e 
been expected under the circumstances. 

Among our customers were three or four old Revolutionary pensioners, who 
traded out the amounts of their pensions before they were due, leaving their 
papers as security. One of these pensioners was old Bevans, commonly known 
as "Uncle Bibbins," a man who loved his glass and was very prone to relate 
romantic Revolutionary anecdotes and adventures, in which he, of course, was 
conspicuous. At one time he was in our debt, and though we held his pension 
papers, it would be three months before the money could be drawn. It was 
desirable to get him away for that length of time, and we hinted to him that it 
would be pleasant to make a visit to Guilford, where he had relations, but he 
would not go. Finally, I hit upon a plan which "moved " him. 

A journeyman hatter, named Benton, who was fond of a practical joke, was 
let into the secret, and was persuaded to call " Uncle Bibbins'' a coward, to tell 
him that he had been wounded in the back, and thus to provoke a duel, which he 
did, and at my suggestion "Uncle Bibbins " challenged Benton to fight him with 
musket and ball at a distance of twenty 3-ards. The challenge was accepted, I 
was chosen second by "Uncle Bibbins," and the duel was to come off imme- 
diately. My principal, taking me aside, begged me to put nothing in the guns 
but blank cartridges. I assured him it should be so, and therefore that he might 
feel perfectly safe. 

The ground was measured in the lot at the rear of our store, and the principals 
and seconds took their places. At the word given both parties fired. "Uncle 
Sibbins " of course, escaped unhurt, but Benton leaped several feet into the air, 
and fell upon the ground with a dreadful yell, as if he had been really shot. 
"Uncle Bibbins" was frightened. I ran to him, told him I had neglected to 
extract the bullet from his gun (which was literally true, as there was no bullet 
in it to extract), and he supposed, of course, he had killed his adversary. I then 
whispered to him to go immediately to Guilford, to keep quiet, and he should 
hear from me as soon as it would be safe to do so. He started up the street on a 
run, and immediately quit the town for Guilford, where he kept himself quiet 
until it was time for him to return and sign his papers. I then wrote him that 
"he could return in safety ; that his adversary had recovered from his wound, 
and now forgave him all, as he felt himself much to blame for having insulted a 
man of his known courage." 

"Uncle Bibbins" returned, signed the papers, and we obtained the pension 
money. A few days thereafter he met Benton. 

"My brave old friend," said Benton, "I forgive you my terrible wound and 
long confinement on the brink of the grave, and I beg you to forgive me also. 1 
insulted you without a cause." 

" I forgive you freely, " said "Uncle Bibbins;" "but," he added, "you must 
be careful next time how you insult a dead shot." 



ALa. Oliver Taylor removed from Danbury to Brooklyn, Long Island, where 
ie kept a grocery store and also had a large comb factoiy and a comb store in 
:>ew York. In the fall of 1826 he offered me a situation as clerk in his Brooklyn 
tore, which I accepted, and before long was entrusted with the purchasing of all 
goods fur ms store. I bought for cash entirely, going into the lower part of New 
York city in search of the cheapest market for groceries, often attending auctions 
of teas, sugars, molasses, etc., watching the sales, noting prices and buyers, and 
frequently combining with other grocers to bid off large lots, which we subse- 
quently divided, giving each of us the quantity wanted at a lower rate than if the 
goods had passed into other hands, compelling us to pay another profit. 

Well treated as I was by my employer, who manifested great interest in me, 
still I was dissatisfied. A salary was not sufficient for me. My disposition was 
of that speculative character which refused to be satisfied unless I was engaged in 
some business where my profits might be enhanced, or, at least, made to depend 
upon my energy, perseverance, attention to business, tact, and "calculation." 

In the following summer, 1827, I was taken down with the small-pox and was 
confined to the house for several months. This sickness made a sad inroad upon 
my means. When I was sufficiently recovered, I went home to recruit. 

During my convalescence at my mother's house, I visited my old friends and 
neighbors and had the opportunity to renew my acquaintance with the attractive 
tailoress, " Chairy " Halle tt. A month afterwards, I returned to Brooklyn, where 
I gave Mr. Taylor notice of my desire to leave his employment; and I then opened 
a porter-house on my own account. In a few months I sold out to good advantage 
and accepted a favorable offer to engage as clerk in a similar establishment, kept 
by Mr. David Thorp, 29 Peck Slip, New York. It was a great resort for Danbury 
and Bethel comb makers and hatters, and I thus had frequent opportunities of 
seeing and hearing from my fellow-townsmen. I lived in Mi'. Thorp's family and 
was kindly treated. I was often permitted to visit the theater with friends who 
came to New York, and, as I had considerable taste for the drama, I soon became, in 
my own opinion, a discr imina ting critic — nor did I fail to exhibit my powers to my 
Connecticut friends who accompanied me to the play. Let me gratefully add 
that my habits were not bad. Though I sold liquors to others, I do not think 1 
ever drank a pint of liquor, wine, or cordials before I was twenty-two years of 
age. I always had a Bible, which I frequently read, and I attended church regu- 
larly. These habits, so far as they go, are in the right direction, and I am thankful 
to-day that they characterized my early youth. However worthy or unworthy 
may have been my later years, I know that I owe much of the better part of my 
nature to my youthful regard for Sunday and its institutions — a regard, I trust. 
still strong in my character. 

In February, 1828, I returned to Bethel and opened a retail fruit and confer 
Lionery store in a part of my grandfather's carriage-house, which was situated on 
the main street, and which was offered to me rent free if I would return to my 



native village and establish some sort of business. This beginning of business on 
my own account was an eventful era in my life. My total capital was one hun- 
dred and twenty dollars, fifty of which I had expended in fitting up the store, and 
the remaining seventy dollars purchased my stock in trade. I had arranged with 
fruit dealers whom I knew in New York, to receive my orders, and I decided to 
open my establishment on the first Monday in May — our " general training " day. 

It was a "red letter" day for me. The village was crowded with people from 
the surrounding region and the novelty of my little shop attracted attention. 
Long before noon I was obliged to call in one of my old schoolmates to assist in 
waiting upon my numerous customers and when I closed at night I had the satis- 
faction of reckoning up sixty-three dollars as my day's receipts. Nor, although I 
had received the entire cost of my goods, less seven dollars, did the stock seem 
seriously diminished; showing that my profits had been large. I need not say 
how much gratified I was with the result of this first day's experiment. The 
store was a fixed fact. I went to New York and expended all my money in a 
stock of fancy goods, such as pocket-books, combs, beads, rings, pocket-knives, 
and a few toys. These, with fruit, nuts, etc., made the business good through the 
summer, and in the fall I added stewed oysters to the inducements. 

My grandfather, who was much interested hi my success, advised me to take an 
agency for the sale of lottery tickets, on commission. In those days, the lottery- 
was not deemed objectionable on the score of morality. Very worthy people 
invested in such schemes without a thought of evil and then, as now, churches 
even got up lotteries, with this difference— that then they were called lotteries, 
and now they go under some other name. While I am very glad that an improved 
public sentiment denounces the lottery in general as an illegitimate means of 
getting money, and while I do not see how any one, especially in or near a New 
England State, can engage in a lottery without feeling a reproach which no pecu- 
niary return can compensate, yet I cannot now accuse myself for having been 
lured into a business which was then sanctioned by good Christian people, who 
now join with me in reprobating enterprises they once encouraged. But as public 
sentiment was forty-five years ago, I obtained an agency to sell lottery tickets on a 
commission of ten per cent., and this business, in connection with my little store, 
made my profits quite satisfactory. 

I used to have some curious customers. On one occasion a young man called 
on me and selected a pocket-book which pleased him, asking me to give him credit 
for a few weeks. I told him that if he wanted any article of necessity in my 
line, I should not object to trust him for a short time, but it struck me that a 
pocket-book was a decided superfluity for a man who had no money. 

My store had much to do in giving shape to my future character as well as 
career, in that it became a favorite resort; the theater of village talk, and the 
scene of many practical jokes. For any excess of the jocose element in my char- 
acter, part of the blame must attach to my early surroundings as a village clerk 
and merchant. In that true resort of village wits and wags, the country store, 
fun, pure and simple, will be sure to find the surface. My Bethel store was the 
scene of many most amusing incidents, in some of which I was an immediate 
participant, though in many, I was only a listener or spectator. 

The following scene makes a chapter in the history of Connecticut, as the State 
was when "blue laws" were something more than a dead letter. To swear in 
those days was according to custom, but contrary to law. A person from New 
York State, whom I will call Crofut, who was a frequent visitor at my store, was 
equally noted for his self-will and his really terrible profanity. One day he was 


in my little establishment engaged in conversation, when Nathan Seelye, Esq. 
one of our village justices of the peace, and a man of strict religious principles, 
came in, and hearing Crofut's profane language he told him he considered it his 
duty to fine him one dollar for swearing. 

Crofut responded immediately with an oath, that he did not care a d n for 

the Connecticut blue laws. 

" That will make two dollars," said Mr. Seelye. 

This brought forth another oath. 

"Three dollars," said the sturdy justice. 

Nothing but oaths were given in reply, until Esquire Seelye declared the damage 
to the Connecticut laws to amount to fifteen dollars. 

Crofut took out a twenty-dollar bill, and handed it to the justice of the peace, 
with an oath. 

"Sixteen dollars," said Mr. Seelye, counting out four dollars to hand to Mr. 
Crofut, as his change. 

" Oh, keep it, keep it," said Crofut, "I don't want any change, I'll d d soon 

swear out the balance." He did so, after which he was more circumspect in his 
conversation, remarking that twenty dollars a day for swearing was about as 
much as he could stand. 

On another occasion, a man arrested for assault and battery was to be tried 
before my grandfather, who was a justice of the peace. A young medical student 
naniud Xewton, volunteered to defend the prisoner, and Mr. Couch, the grand 
juryman, came to me and said that as the prisoner had engaged a pettifogger, the 
State ought to have some one to represent its interests and he would give me a 
dollar to present the case. I accepted the fee and proposition. The fame of the 
"eminent counsel" on both sides drew quite a crowd to hear the case. As for 
the case itself, it was useless to argue it, for the guilt of the prisoner was estab- 
lished by evidence of half a dozen witnesses. However, Newton was bound to 
display himself, and so, rising with much dignity, he addressed my grandfather 
with, "May it please the honorable court," etc., proceeding with a mixture of 
poetry and invective against Couch, the grand juryman whom he assumed to be 
the vindictive plaintiff in this case. After alluding to him as such for the twen- 
tieth time, my grandfather stopped Newton in the midst of his splendid peroration 
and informed him that Mr. Couch was not the plaintiff in the case. 

" Not the plaintiff ! Then may it please your honor I should like to know who 
is the plaintiff ?" inquired Newton. 

He was quietly informed that the State of Connecticut was the plaintiff, where- 
upon Newton dropped into his seat as if he had been shot. Thereupon, I rose 
with great confidence, and speaking from my notes, proceeded to show the guilt 
of the prisoner from the evidence; that there was no discrepancy in the testi- 
mony; that none of the witnesses had been impeached; that no defense had been 
offered; that I was astonished at the audacity of both counsel and prisoner in not 
pleading guilty at once; and then, soaring aloft on general principles, I began to 
look about for a safe place to alight, when my grandfather interrupted me with— 

"Young man, will you have the kindness to inform the court which side you 
are pleading for — the plaintiff or the defendant ? " 

It was my turn to drop, which I did amid a shout of laughter from every corner 
of the court-room. Newton, who had been very downcast, looked up with a 
broad grin and the two " eminent counsel " sneaked out of the room in company, 
while the prisoner was bound over to the next County Court Cor trial. 


While my business in Bethel continued to increase beyond my expectations, 1 
was also happy in believing that my suit with the fair tailoress, Charity Hallett, 
was duly progressing. 

How I managed one of our sleigh rides may be worth narrating. My grand- 
father would, at any time, let me have a horse and sleigh, always excepting his 
new sleigh, the finest in the village, and a favorite horse called "Arabian." I 
especially coveted this turnout for one of our parties, knowing that I could eclipse 
all my comrades, and so I asked grandfather if I could have "Arabian " and the 
new sleigh. 

"Yes, if you have twenty dollars in your pocket," was the reply. 

I immediately showed the money, and, putting it back in my pocket, said with 
a laugh: " You see I have the money. I am much obliged to you; I suppose I can 
have ' Arab ' and the new sleigh i " 

Of course, he meant to deny me by making what he thought to be an impossi- 
ble condition, to wit: that I should hire the team, at a good round price, if I had 
it at all, but I had caught him so suddenly that he was compelled to consent, and 
" Chairy " and I had the crack team of the party. 

There was a young apprentice to the tailoring trade in Bethel, whom I will caD 
John Mallett, whose education had been much neglected, and who had been pay- 
ing his addresses to a certain "Lucretia" for some six months, with a strong 
probability of being jilted at last. On a Sunday evening she had declined to take 
his arm, accepting instead the arm of the next man who offered, and Mallett 
determined to demand an explanation. He accordingly came to me the Saturday 
evening following, asking me, when I had closed my store, to write a strong and 
rernonstratory "love-letter" for him. I asked "Bill Shepard," who was present, 
to remain and assist, and, in due time, the joint efforts of Shepard, Mallett and 
myself resulted in the f ollowing production. I give the letter as an illustrative 
chapter in real life. It is certainly not after the manner of Chesterfield, but it is 
such a letter as a disappointed lover, spurred by 

The green-eyed monster, which doth mock 
The meat it feeds on, 

frequently indites. With a demand from Mallett that we should begin in strong 
terms, and Shepard acting as scribe, we concocted the following : 

Bethel. . 18—. 

Miss Lucretia: I write this to ask an explanation of your conduct in giving me the mitten 
on Sunday night last. If you think, madam, that you can trffle with my affections, and turn 
me off for every little whipper-snapper that you can pick up, you will rind yourself consid- 
erably mistaken. [We read thus far to Mallett, and it met his approval. He said he liked 
the idea of calling her ''madam," for he thought it sounded so " distant.'" it would hurt her 
feelings very much. The term "little whipper-snapper " also delighted him. He said he 
guessed that would make her feel cheap. Shepard and myself were not quite so sure of 
its aptitude, since the chap who succeeded in capturing Lucretia. on the occasion alluded 
lo, was a head and shoulders taller than Mallett. However, we did not intimate our thoughts 
to Mallett, and he desired us to " go ahead and give her another dose."] You don't know 
me, madam, if you think you can snap me up in this way. I wish you to understand that I 
can have the company of girls as much above you as the sun is above the earth, and I won't 
stand any of your impudent nonsense no how. [This was duly read and approved. ** Now," 
said Mallett, "try to touch her feelings. Remind her of the pleasant hours we have spent 
together ;" and we continued as follows :] My dear Lucretia, when I think of the many 
pleasant hours we have spent together— of the delightful walks which we have had on moon- 
light evenings to Fenner's Rocks, Chestnut Ridge, Grassy Plain, Wildcat, and Puppy-town— 
of the strolls which we have taken upon Shelter Rocks. Cedar Hill— the visits we have made 
co Old Lane, Wolfpits, Toad-hole and Plum-trees*— when all these tilings come rushing on 

* These were the euphonious names of localities in the vicinity of Bethel. 


my mind, and when, my dear girl, I remember how often you have told me that you loved 
me better than anybody else, and I assured you my feelings were the s:une as yours, it almost 
breaks my heart to think of last Sunday night. ["Can't you stick In some affecting poetry 
bere t" said Mallett Shepard could not recollect any to the point, nor could I. but as the 
exigency of the case seemed to require it, we concluded to manufacture a verse or two, which 
we'did, as follows:] 

Lucretia, dear, what have I done, 

That you should use me thus and so, 
To take the arm of Tom Beers' son, 

And let your dearest true love go? 

Miserable fate, to lose you now, 

And tear this bleeding heart asunder! 
Will you forget your tender vow? 

I can't believe it— no, by thunder 

[Mallett did not like the word " thunder," but being informed that no other word could 
be substituted without destroying both rhyme and reason, he consented that it should remain, 
provided we added two more stanzas of a softer nature ; something, he said, that would 
make the tears come, if possible. We then ground out the following':] 

Lucretia, dear, do write to Jack, 

And say with Beers you are not smitten ; 
And thus to me in love come back. 

And give all other boys the mitten. 

Do this, Lucretia, and till death 

I'll love you to intense distraction; 
I'll spend for you my every breath, 

And we will live in satisfaction. 

[" That will do very well," said Mallett. "Now I guess you had better blow her up a 
little more." We obeyed orders as follows:] It makes me mad to think what a fool I was 
to give you that finger-ring and bosom-pin, and spend so much time in your company, just 
to be flirted and bamboozled as I was on Sunday night last. If you continue this course of 
conduct, we part forever, and I will thank you to send back that jewelry. I would sooner 
see it crushed under my feet than worn by a person who abused me as you have done. 1 
shall despise you forever if you don't change your conduct towards me, and send me a letter 
of apology on Monday next. I shall not go to meeting to-morrow, for I would scorn to sit 
in the same meeting-house with you until I have an explanation of your conduct. If you 
illow any young man to go home with you to-morrow night, I shall know it, for you will be 
watched. "["There," said Mallett. "that is pretty strong. Now I guess you had bette* 
touch her feelings once more, and wind up the letter." We proceeded as follows:] My sweet 
girl, if you only knew the sleepless nights which I have spent during the present week, the 
torments and Bufferings which I endure on your account ; if you could but realize that I 
regard the world as less than nothing without you. I am certain you would pity me. A 
homely cot and a crust of bread with my adorable Lucretia would be a paradise, where a 
palace without you would be a hades. [" What in thunder is hades ? " inquired Jack. We 
explained. He considered the figure rather bold, and requested us to close as soon as pos- 
sible.] Now, dearest, in bidding you adieu. I implore you to refiect on our past enjoyments, 
look forward with pleasure to our future happy meetings, and rely upon your affectionate 
Jack in storm or calm, in sickness, distress, or want, for all these will be powerless to 
change my love. I hope to hear from you on Monday next, and, if favorable, I shall be 
happy to call on you the same evening, when in ecstatic joy we will laugh at the past, hope 
for the future, and draw consolation from the fact that " the course of true love never did 
run smooth." This from your disconsolate but still hoping lover and admirer, 

Jack Mallett. 

P. S. — On reflection I have concluded to go to meeting to-morrow. If all is well, hold 
your pocket handkerchief in your left hand as you stand up to sing with the choir— in which 
case I shall expect the pleasure of giving you my arm to-morrow night. J. M. 

The effect of this letter upon Lucretia, I regret to say, was not as favorable as 
could have been desired. She declined to remove her handkerchief from her right 
hand, and she returned the "ring and bosom-pin" to her disconsolate admirer, 
while, not many months after, Mallett's rival led Lucretia to the altar. As for 
Mallett's agreement to pay Shepard and myself five pounds of carpet rags and 
twelve yards of broadcloth "lists," for our services, owing to his ill success, we 
compromised for one-half the amount. 



During this season I made arrangements with Mr. Samuel Sherwood, of Bridge 
port, to go on an exploring expedition to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, where we 
understood there was a fine opening for a lottery office, and where we meant to 
try our fortunes, provided the prospects should equal our expectations. We went 
to New York, where I had an interview with Mr. Dudley S. Gregory, the princi- 
pal business man of Messrs. Yates and Mclntyre, who dissuaded me from going 
to Pittsburg, and offered me the entire lottery agency for the State of Tennessee, 
if I would go to Nashville and open an office. The offer was tempting, but the 
distance was too far from a certain tailoress in Bethel. 

The Pittsburg trip given up, Sherwood and I went to Philadelphia for a pleas- 
ure excursion and put up at Congress Hall in Chestnut street where we lived in 
much grander style than we had, been accustomed to, and for a week we were in 
clover. At the end of that time, however, when we concluded to start for home, 
the amount of our hotel bill astounded us. After paying it and securing tickets 
for New York, our combined purses showed a balance of but twenty-seven cents. 

Twenty-five cents of this sum went to the boot-black. Fortunately our breakfast 
was included in our bilk and we secured from the table a few biscuits for our 
dinner on the way to New York. 

On arriving we carried our own baggage to Holt's Hotel. The next morning 
Sherwood obtained a couple of dollars from a friend, and went to Newark and 
borrowed fifty dollars from his cousin, Dr. Sherwood, loaning me one-half the 
sum. After a few days' sojourn in the city we returned home. 

During our stay in New York, I derived considerable information from the 
city managers with regard to the lottery business, and thereafter I bought my 
tickets directly from the Connecticut lottery managers at what was termed " the 
scheme price," and also established agencies throughout the country, selling con- 
siderable quantities of tickets at handsome profits. My uncle, Alanson Taylor, 
joined me in the business, and, as we sold several prizes, my office came to be 
considered "lucky," and I received orders from all parts of the country. 
■ During this time I kept a close eye upon the attractive tailoress, Charity Hallett, 
and in the summer of 1829 I asked her hand in marriage. My suit was accepted, 
and the wedding day was appointed; I, meanwhile, applying myself closely to 
business, and no one but the parties immediately interested suspecting that the 
event was so near at hand. Miss Hallett went to New York in October, ostensibly 
to visit her uncle, Nathan Beers, who resided at No. 3 Allen Street. I followed 
in November, pressed by the necessity of purchasing goods for my store; and the 
evening after my arrival, November 8, 1829, the Rev. Dr. McAuley married us 
in the presence of sundry friends and relatives of my wife, and I became the 
husband of one of the best women in the world. In the course of the week we 
went back to Bethel and -took board in the family where Charity Barnum as 
" Chairy " Hallett had previously resided. 

I do not approve or recommend early marriages. The minds of men and 



women taking so important a step in life should be matured, but although 1 was 
only little more than nineteen years old when I was married, I have always felt 
assured that if I had waited twenty years longer I could not have found another 
woman so well suited to my disposition and so admirable and valuable in every 
character as a wife, a mother, and a friend. 

In the winter of 1829-30, my lottery business had so extended that I had branch 
offices in Danbury, Nor walk, Stamford and Middletown, as well as ageiu.v 
the small villages for tliirty miles around Bethel. I had also purchased from my 
grandfather three acres of land on which I built a house and went to housek<>i 
ing. My lottery business, which was with a few large customers, was so arranged 
that I could safely entrust it to an agent, making it necessary for me to find some 
other field for mj- individual enterprise. 

So I tried my hand as an auctioneer in the book trade, traveling about the 
country, but at Newburgh, New York, several of my best books were stolen, and 
I quit the business in disgust. 

In .Tidy, 1S31, my uncle, Alanson Taylor, and myself opened a country store in 
a building, which I had put up in Bethel in the previous spring, and we stocked 
the "3'ellow store," as it was called, with a full assortment of groceries, hard- 
ware, crockery, and "notions;" but we were not successful in the enterprise, 
and in October following, I bought out my uncle's interest and we dissolved 

About this time, circumstances, partly religious and partly political in their 
character, led me into still another fie!' 1 of enterprise which honorably opened 
to me that notorietv o£ wlnen in later lit e I surely have had a surfeit. Consider- 
ing my youth, this new enterprise reflected credit upon my ability, as well as 
energy, and so I may be excused if I now recur to it with something like pride 

In a period of strong political excitement, 1 wrote several co mm u ni cations for 
the Danbury weekly paper, setting forth what I conceived to be the dangers of a 
sectarian interference which was then apparent in political affairs. The publica- 
tion of these communications was refused, and I accordingly purchased a press 
and types, and October 19, 1831, I Issued the first number of my own paper, The 
Herald of Freedom. 

I entered upon the editorship of this journal with all the vigor and vehemence 
of youth. The boldness with which the paper was conducted soon excited wide- 
spread attention and commanded a circulation which extended beyond the imme- 
diate locality into nearly every State in the Union. But lacking that experience 
which induces caution, and without the dread of consequences, I frequently laid 
myself open to the charge of libel, and three times in three years I was prosecuted. 
A Danbury butcher, a zealous politician, brought a civil suit against me for accus- 
ing him of being a spy in a Democratic caucus. On the first trial the jury did 
not agree, but after a second trial I was fined several hundred dollars. Anothei 
libel suit against me was withdrawn. The third was sufficiently important to 
warrant the following detail: 

A criminal prosecution was brought against me for stating in my paper that a 
man in Bethel, prominent in church, had "been guilty of taking usui-y of an 
orphan boy," and for severely commenting on the fact in my editorial columns. 
When the case came to trial the truth of my statement way substantially proved 
by several witnesses and even by the prosecuting party. But "the greater the 
truth, the greater the libeL" and then I had used the term "usury," instead of 
extortion, or note-shaving, or some other expression which mijcht have softened 



the verdict. The result was that I was sentenced to pay a fine of ohe hundred 
dollars and to be imprisoned in the common jail for sixty days. 

The most comfortable provision was made for me in Danbury jail. My room 
was papered and carpeted; I lived well; I was overwhelmed with the constant 
visits of my friends; I edited my paper as usual and received large accessions to 
my subscription List; and at the end of my sixty days' term the event was cele- 
brated, by a large concourse of people from the smTomiding country. The court 
room in which I was convicted was the scene of the celebration. An ode, written 
for the occasion, was sung; an eloquent oration on the freedom of the press was 
delivered; and several hundred gentlemen afterwards partook of a sumptuous 
dinner followed by appropriate toasts and speeches. Then came the triumphant 
part of the ceremonial, which was reported in my paper of December 12, 1832, 
;is follows: 

" P. T. Barnum and the band of music took their seats in a coach drawn by six horses, 
which had been prepared for the occasion. The coach was preceded by forty horsemen. 
;ind a marshal, bearing the national standard. Immediately in the rear of the coach was 
(he carriage of the orator and the President of the day, followed by the committee o/ 
irrangements and sixty carnages of citizens, which joined in escorting the editor to his 
home in Bethel.* 

" When the procession commenced its march amidst the roar of cannon, three cheers 
'.ere given by several hundred citizens who did not join in the procession. The band of 
music continued to play a variety of national airs until their arrival in Bethel (a distance 
of three miles), when they struck up the beautiful and appropriate tune of 'Home, Sweet 
Home!' After giving three hearty cheers, the procession returned to Danbury. The 
utmost harmony and unanimity of feeling prevailed throughout the day, and we are happy 
!o add that no accident occurred to mar the festivities of the occasion." 

My editorial career was one of continual contest. I however published the 
160th number of The Herald of Freedom in Danbury, November 5, 1834, after 
which my brother-in-law, John W. Amerman, issued the paper forme at Nor 
walk till the following year, when the Herald was sold to Mr. George Taylor. 

Meanwhile, I had taken Horace Fairchild into partnership in my mercantile 
I (usmess, in 1831 , and I had sold out to him and to a Mr. Toucey, in 1833, they 
forming a partnership under the firm of Fairchild & Co. So far as I was con- 
cerned, my store was not a success. Ordinary trade was too slow for me. I 
bought largely and in order to sell I was obliged to give extensive credits. Hence 
I had an accumulation of bad debts; and my old ledger presents a long series of 
accounts balanced by "death," by "running away," by "failing," and by other 
similarly remunerative returns. 

There was nothing more for me to do in Bethel; and in the winter of 1834—5, I 
removed my family to New York, where I hired a house in Hudson street. I 
nad no pecuniary resources, excepting such as might be derived from debts left 
for collection with my agent at Bethel, and I went to the metropolis literally to 
Keek my fortune. I hoped to secure a situation in some mercantile house, not at 
,t fixed salary, but so as to derive such portion of the profits as might be due to 
Miy individual tact, energy, and perseverance in the interests of the business. 
Hut I could find no such position; my resources began to fail ; my family were 
in ill health; I must do something for a Living; and so I acted as " drummer " to 
-everal stores which allowed me a small commission on sales to customers of my 

Nor did all my efforts secure a situation for me during the whole winter; but 
ib the spring, I received several hundred dollars from my agent in Bethel, a nd 

* See illustration, page 36. 


rinding no better business, May 1, 1835, I opened a small private boarding-house 
at No. 52 Frankfort street. We soon had a very good run of custom from our 
Connecticut acquaintances who had occasion to visit New York, and as this 
business did not sufficiently occupy my time, I bought an interest with Mr. John 
Moody in a grocery store, No. 156 South street. 

Although the years of manhood brought cares, anxieties, and struggles for a 
livelihood, they did not change my nature and the jocose element was still an 
essential ingredient of my being. I loved fun, practical fun, for itself and for 
the enjoyment which it brought. During the year, I occasionally visited Bridge 
port where I almost always found at the hotel a noted joker, named Darrow, 
who spared neither friend nor foe in his tricks. He was the life of the bar-room 
and would always try to entrap some stranger in a bet and so win a treat for the 
company. He made several ineffectual attempts upon me, and at last, one even- 
ing, Darrow, who stuttered, made a final trial as follows: "Come, Barnum, I'll 
make you another proposition; I'll bet you hain't got a whole shirt on your back." 
The catch consists in the fact that generally only one-half of that convenient 
garment is on the back; but I had anticipated the proposition — in fact I had 
induced a friend, Mi*. Hough, to put Darrow up to the trick — and had folded a 
shirt nicely upon my back, securing it there with my suspenders. The bar-room 
was crowded with customers who thought that if I made the bet I should hi 
nicely caught, and I made pretense of playing off and at the same time stim- 
ulated Darrow to press the bet by saying: 

" That is a foolish bet to make; I am sure my shirt is whole because it is nearly 
uew; but I don't like to bet on such a subject." 

"A good reason why," said Darrow, in great glee; "it's ragged. Come, I'll 
bet you a treat for the whole company you hain't got a whole shirt on your 

" I'll bet my shirt is cleaner than yours," I replied. 

" That's nothing to do w-w-with the case; it's ragged, and y-y-you know it." 

" I know it is not," I replied, with pretended anger, which caused the crowd to 
laugh heartily. 

"You poor ragged f-f -fellow, comedown herefrom D-D-Danbury, I'm sorry 
for you," said Darrow tantalizingly. 

"You would not pay if you lost," I remarked. 

"Here's f-f -five dollars I'll put in Captain Hinman's (the landlord's) hands. 
Now b-b-bet if you dare, you ragged c-c-creature, you." 

I put five dollars in Captain Hinman's hands, and told him to treat the com 
pany from it if I lost the bet. 

"Remember," said Darrow, "I b-b-bet you hain't got a whole shirt on your 

"All right," said I, taking off my coat and commencing to unbutton my vest. 
The whole company, feeling sure that I was caught, began to laugh heartily. 
Old Darrow fairly danced with delight, and as I laid my coat on a chair he came 
running up in front of me, and slapping his hands together, exclaimed: 

"You needn't t-t-take off any more c-c-clothes, for if it ain't all on your 
b-b-back, you've lost it." 

"If it is, I suppose you have!" I replied, pulling the whole shirt from off my 
back ! 

Such a shriek of laughter as burst forth from the crowd I scarcely ever heard, 
aud cei*tainly such a blank countenance as old Darrow exhibited it would be hard 
to conceive. Seeing that he was most incontinently "done for," and perceiving 


that his neighbor Hough had helped to do it, he ran up to him in great anger 
and shaking his fist in his face exclaimed: 

" H-H-Hough, you infernal r-r-rascal to go against your own neighbor in favor 
of a D-D-Danbury man. I'll pay you for that some time, you see if I d-d-don't." 

All hands went up to the bar and drank with a hearty good will for it was 
seldom that Darrow got taken in, and he was such an inveterate joker they liked 
to see him paid in his own coin. Never till the day of his death did he hear the 
\»tf of th*» " whole shirt" 



By this time it was clear to my mind that my proper position in this bug 
world was not yet reached. The business for which I was destined, and, 1 
believe, made, had not yet come to me. I had not found that I was to cater for 
that insatiate want of human nature— the love of amusement; that I was to 
make a sensation on two continents; and that fame and fortune awaited me so 
soon as I should appear before the public- in the character of a showman. 

The show business has all phases and grades of dignity, from the exhibition of 
a monkey to the exposition of that highest art in music or the drama, which 
entrances empires and secures for the gifted artist a world-wide fame which 
princes well might envy. Men, women and children, who cannot live on gravity 
alone, need something to satisfy their gayer, lighter moods and hours, and he 
who ministers to this want is in a business established by the Author of our 
nature. If he worthily fullils his mission, and amuses without corrupting, he 
need never feel that he has lived in vain. 

The least deserving of all my efforts hi the show line was the one which intro- 

i me to the business : a scheme in no sense of my own devising; one which 

had been sometime before the public and which had so many vouchers for ite 

genuineness that at the time of taking possession of it I honestly believed it to be 


In the summer of 1835, Mr. Coley Bartram, of Reading, Connecticut, informed 
me that he had owned an interest in a remarkable negro woman whom he 
believed to be one hundred and sixty-one years old, and whom he also believed 
to have been the nurse of General Washington. He then showed me a copy of 
the following advertisement in the Pennsylvania Inquire)', of July 15, 1S35: 

Ccriositt.— The citizens of Philadelphia and its vicinity have an opportunity of witness- 
ing at the Masonic Hall, one of the greatest natural curiosities ever witnessed, viz.: Joice 
Hktii. a Degress, aged 181 rears, who formerly belonged to the father of General Wash- 
ington. She has been a member of the Baptist Church one hundred and sixteen years, and 
can rehearse many hymns, and sing them according to former custom. She was horn near 
the old Potomac River in Virginia, and has for ninety or one hundred years lived in Paris, 
Kentucky, with the Bowling family. 

All who have seen tiiis extraordinary woman are satisfied of the truth of the account of 
her age. The evidence of the Bowling family, which is respectable, is strong, bat the 
original bill of sale of Augustine Washington, in his own hand-writing, and other evidences 
which the proprietor has In his possession, will satisfy even the most incredulous. 

A lady will attend at the hall during the afternoon and evening for the accommodation of 
those ladies who may call. 

Mr. Bartram further stated that he had sold out his interest to his partner, R. 
W. Lindsay, of Jefferson county, Kentucky, who was then exhibiting Joice 
Heth in Philadelphia, but was anxious to sell out and go home — the alleged 
reason being that he had very little tact as a showman. As the New York papers 
had also contained some account of Joice Heth, I went on to Philadelphia to 3ee 
Mr. Lhisday and his exhibition 



Joice Heth was certainly a remarkable curiosity, and she looked as if she 
might have been far older than her age as advertised. She was apparently in 
good health and spirits, but from age or disease, or both, was unable to change 
her position; she coidd move one arm at will, but her lower limbs could not be 
straightened; her left arm lay across her breast and she could not remove it; the 
fingers of her left hand were drawn down so as nearly to close it, and were 
fixed ; the nails on that hand were almost four inches long and extended above 
her wrist; the nails on her large toes had grown to the thickness of a quarter of 
an inch; her head was covered with a thick bush of grey hair; but she was tooth- 
less and totally blind, and her eyes had sunk so deeply in the sockets as to have 
disappeared altogether. 

Nevertheless she was pert and sociable and would talk as long as people would 
converse with her. She was quite garrulous about her protege "dear little 
George," at whose birth she declared she was present, having been at the time a 
slave of Elizabeth Atwood, a half-sister of Augustine Washington, the father of 
George Washington. As nurse she put the first clothes on the infant, and she 
claimed to have "raised him." She professed to be a member of the Baptist 
church, talking much in her way on religious subjects, and she sang a variety of 
ancient hymns. 

In proof of her extraordinary age and pretensions, Mr. Lindsay exhibited a 
bill of sale, dated February 5, 1727, from Augustine Washington, county of 
Westmoreland, Virginia, to Elizabeth Atwood, a half-sister and neighbor of Mr. 
Washington, conveying "one negro woman named Joice Heth, aged fifty-four 
years, for and in consideration of the sum of thirty-three pounds lawful money 
of Virginia." It was further claimed that she had long been a nurse in the 
Washington family; she was called in at the birth of George and clothed the new- 
born infant. The evidence seemed authentic, and hi answer to the inquiry why 
so remarkable a discovery had not been made before, a satisfactory explanation 
was gi ven in the statement that she had been carried from Virginia to Kentucky, 
bad been on the plantation of John S. Bowling so long that no one knew or cared 
how old she was, and only recently the accidental discovery by Mr. Bowling's 
son of the old bill of sale in the Record Office in Virginia had led to the identifi- 
cation of this negro woman as "the nurse of Washington." 

Everything seemed so straightforward that I was anxious to become proprietor 
of this novel exhibition, which was offered to me at one thousand dollars, though 
the price first demanded was three thousand. I had five hundred dollars, bor- 
rowed five hundred dollars more, sold out my interest in the grocery business to 
my partner, and began life as a showman. At the outset of my career I saw 
that everything depended upon getting the people to think, and talk, and become 
curious and excited over and about the "rare spectacle." Accordingly, posters, 
transparencies, advertisements, newspaper paragraphs — all calculated to extort 
attention — were employed, regardless of expense. My exhibition rooms in New 
York, Boston, Philadelphia, Albany, and in other large and small cities, were 
continually thronged and much money was made. In the following February, 
Joice Heth died, literally of old age, and her remains received a respectable 
burial in the town of Bethel. 

At a post-mortem examination of Joice Heth by Dr. David L. Rogers, in the 
presence of some medical students, it was thought that the absence of ossifica- 
tion indicated considerably less age than had been assumed for her; but the 
doctors disagreed, and this "dark subject" will probably always continue to be 
shrouded in mystery 


I had at last found my true vocation. My next venture, whatever it maj 
have been in other respects, had the merit of being, in every essential, unmis- 
takably genuine. I engaged from the Albany Museum an Italian who called 
himself "Signor Antonio" and who performed certain remarkable feats of 
balancing, stilt- walking, plate-sphming, etc. I made terms with him for one 
year to exhibit anywhere in the United States at twelve dollars a week and 
expenses, and induced him to change his stage name to "Signor Vivalla." 1 
then wrote a notice of his wonderful qualities and performances, printed it in 
one of the Albany papers as news, sent copies to the theatrical managers in New 
York and hi other cities, and went with Vivalla to the metropolis. 

Manager William Dinneford, of the Franklin Theatre, had seen so many per- 
formances of the kind that he declined to engage my "eminent Italian artist;" 
but I persuaded him to try Vivalla one night for nothing, and by the potent aid 
of printer's ink the house was crammed. I appeared as a supernumerary to assist 
Vivalla in arranging his plates and other " properties; " and to hand him his gun 
to fire while he was hopping on one stilt ten feet high. This was "my first 
appearance on any stage." The applause which followed Vivalla' s feats was tre- 
mendous, and Manager Dinneford was so delighted that he engaged him for the 
remainder of the week at fifty dollars. At the close of the performance, in 
response to a call from the house, I made a speech for Vivalla, thanking the audi- 
ence for their appreciation and announcing a repetition of the exhibition every 
evening during the week. 

Vivalla remained a second week at the Franklin Theatre, for which 1 received 
-SI 50. I realized the same sum for a week in Boston. We then went to Washing- 
ton to fulfill an engagement which was far from successful, since in 3- remuneration 
depended upon the receipts, and it snowed continually during the week. I was a 
loser to such an extent that I had not funds enough to return to Philadelphia. I 
pawned my watch and chain for thirty-five dollars, when, fortunately, Manager 
Wemyss arrived on Saturday morning and loaned me the money to redeem my 

As this was my first visit to Washington, I was much interested in visiting the 
eapitol and other public buildings. I also satisfied my curiosity in seeing Clay, 
Calhoun, Benton, John Quincy Adams, Richard M. Johnson, Polk, and other 
leading statesmen of the time. I was also greatly gratified in calling upon Anne 
Royall, author of the Black Book, publisher of a little paper called "Paul Pry, - ' 
and quite a celebrated personage in her day. I had exchanged The Herald of Free- 
dom with her journal, and she strongly sympathized with me in my persecutions. 
She was delighted to see me, and although she was the most garrulous old woman 
I ever saw, I passed a very amusing and pleasant time with her. Before leaving 
her, I manifested my showman propensity by trying to hire her to give a dozen 
or more lectures on " Government," in the Atlantic cities, but I could not engage 
her at any price, although I am sure the speculation would have been a very 
profitable one. I never saw this eccentric woman again; she died at a very 
advanced age, October 1, 1854, at her residence in Washington. 

I went with Vivalla to Philadelphia and opened at the Walnut Street Theatre. 
Though his performances were very meritorious and were well received, theatri- 
cals were dull and houses were slim, it was evident that something must be done 
to stimulate the public. 

And now that instinct — I think it must be — which can arouse a community and 
make it patronize, provided the article offered is worthy of patronage — an instinct 
-vhich served me strangely in later years, astonishing the public and surprising 


me, came to my relief, and the help, curiously enough, appeared in the shape of 
an emphatic hiss from the pit! 

This hiss, I discovered, came from one Roberts, a circus performer, and I had an 
interview with him. He was a professional balancer and juggler, who boasted 
that he could do all Vivalla had done and something more. 1 at once published 
a card in Vivalla's name, offering §1,000 to any one who would publicly perform 
Vivalla's feats at such place as should be designated, and Roberts issued a counter 
card, accepting the offer. I then contracted with Mr. Warren, treasurer of the 
Walnut Street Theatre, for one-third of the proceeds, if I should bring the receipts 
up to $400 a night — an agreement he could well afford to make as his receipts the 
night before had been but seventy-five dollars. From him I went to Roberts, 
who seemed disposed to "back down," but I told him I should not insist upon the 
terms of his published card, and ask him if he was under any engagement? Learn- 
ing that he was not, I offered him thirty dollars to perform under my direction 
one night at the Walnut, and he accepted. A great trial of skill between Roberts 
and Vivalla was duly announced by posters and through the press. Meanwhile, 
they rehearsed privately to see what tricks each could perform, and the "busi- 
ness " was completely arranged. 

Public excitement was at fever heat, and on the night of the trial the pit and 
upper boxes were crowded to the full. The "contest" between the performers 
was eager, and each had his party in the house. So far as T could learn, no one 
complained that he did no't get all he paid for on that occasion. I engaged Rob- 
erts for a month and his subsequent "contests" with Vivalla amused the public 
and put money in my purse. 

In April, 1836, I connected myself with Aaron Turner's traveling circus com- 
pany as ticket-seller, secretary and treasurer, at thirty dollars a moiith and one- 
fifth of the entire profits, while Vivalla was to receive a salary of fifty dollars. 
As I was already paying him eighty dollars a month, our joint salaries reimbursed 
me and left me the chance of twenty per cent, of the net receipts. We started 
from Danbury for West Springfield, Massachusetts, April 26th, and on the first 
day, instead of halting to dine, as I expected, Mr. Turner regaled the whole com- 
pany with three loaves of rye bread and a pound of butter, bought at a farm 
house at a cost of fifty cents, and after watering the horses, we went on our way. 

We began our performances at West Springfield, April 28th, and as our expected 
band of music had not arrived from Providence, I made a prefatory speech 
announcing our disappointment, and our intention to please our patrons, never- 
theless. The two Turner boys, sons of the proprietor, rode finely. Joe Pentland, 
one of the wittiest, best, and most original of clowns, with Vivalla's tricks and 
other performances in the ring, more than made up for the lack of music. In a 
day or two our band arrived and our "houses" improved. My diary is full ot 
incidents of our summer tour through numerous villages, towns, and cities in 
New England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Dis 
trict of Columbia, Virginia, and North Carolina. 

While we were at Cabotville, Massachusetts, on going to bed one night one of 
my room-mates threw a lighted stump of a cigar into a spit-box filled with saw- 
dust, and the result was that about one o'clock T. V. Turner, who slept in the room, 
awoke in the midst of a dense smoke, and barely managed to crawl to the win- 
dow to open it, and to awaken us in time to save us from suffocation. 

At Lenox, Massachusetts, one Sunday I attended church as usual and the 
preacher denounced our circus and all connected with it as immoral, and was very 
abusive; whereupon, when he had read the closing hymn, I walked up the pulpit 


' - 


stairs and handed him a written request, signed "P. T. Barnum, connected with 
the circus, June 5th, 1836," to be permitted to reply to him. He declined t<> 
notice it, and after the benediction I lectured him for not giving me an opportu- 
nity to vindicate myself and those with whom I was connected. The affair 
created considerable excitement, and some of the members of the church apolo- 
gized to me for their clergyman's ill-behavior. A similar affair happened after- 
wards at Port Deposit, on. Jhe lower Susquehanna, and in this instance I addressed 
che audience for half an hour, defending the circus company against the attacks of 
the clergyman, and the people listened, though their pastor repeatedly implored 
i hem to go home. Often have I collected our company on Sunday and read to them 
the Bible or a printed sermon, and one or more of the men frequently accompanied 
me to church. We made no pretence of religion, but we were not the worst 
people in the world, and we thought ourselves entitled to at least decent treatment 
when we went to hear the preaching of the Gospel. 

The proprietor of the circus, Aaron Turner, was a self-made man, who had 
acquired a large fortune by his industry. He believed that any man with health 
and common sense could become rich if he only resolved to be so, and he was 
very proud of the fact that he began the world with no advantages, no educa- 
tion, and without a shilling. Withal, he was a practical joker, as I more than 
once discovered to my cost. While we were at Annapolis, Maryland, he played 
a trick upon me which was fun to him, but was very nearly death to me. 

We arrived on Saturday night, and as I felt quite "flush " I bought a fine suit 
of black clothes. On Sunday morning I dressed myself in my new suit and 
started out for a stroll. While passing through the bar-room Turner called the 
attention of the company present to me and said: 

"I think it very singular you permit that rascal to march your streets in open 
day. It wouldn't be allowed in Rhode Island, and I suppose that is the reason 
the black-coated scoundrel has come down this way." 
" Why, who is he? " asked half a dozen at once. 

" Don't you know? Why that is the Rev. E. K. Avery, the murderer of Miss 

" Is it possible ! " they exclaimed, all starting for the door, eager to get a look at 
me, and swearing vengeance. 

It was only recently that the Rev. Ephraim K. Avery had been tried in Rhode 
Island for the murder of Miss Cornell, whose body was discovered in a stack- 
yard, and though Avery was acquitted in court, the general sentiment of the 
country condemned him. It was this Avery whom Turner made me represent. 
[ had not walked far in my fine clothes, before I was overtaken by a mob of a 
dozen, which rapidly increased to at least a hundred, and my ears were suddenly 
t saluted with such observations as, "the lecherous old hypocrite," "the sanctified 
murderer," "the black-coated villian," "lynch the scoundrel," "let's tar and 
feather him," and like remarks which I had no idea applied to me till one man 
seized me by the collar, while five or six more appeared on the scene with a rail. 
" Come," said the man who collared me, " old chap, you can't walk any further: 
we know you, and as we always make gentlemen ride in these parts, you mav 
just prepare to straddle that rail ! " 

My surprise may be imagined. "Good heavens!" I exclaimed, as they all 
pressed around me, "gentlemen, what have I done?" 

"Oh, we know you," exclaimed half a dozen voices; "you needn't roll your 
sanctimonious eyes; that game don't take in this country Come, straddle the 
rail, and remember the stnck-yard '" 


i grew more and more bewildered ; I could not imagine what possible offence I 
was to suffer for, and I continued to exclaim, "Gentlemen, what have I done?" 
Don't kill me, gentlemen, but tell me what 1 have done." 

"Come, make him straddle the rail; we'll show him how to hang poor factory 
girls," shouted a man in the crowd. 

The man who had me by the collar then remarked, " Come, Mr. Avei~y, it's m 
use, you see, we know you, and we'll give you a touch of Lynch law, and start 
you for home again." 

"My name is not Avery, gentlemen; you are mistaken in your man," 1 

"Come, come, none of your gammon; straddle the rail, Ephraim." 

The rail was brought and I was about to be placed on it, when the truth flashed 
upon me. 

" Gentlemen," I exclaimed, " 1 am not Avery; I despise that villain as much as 
you can; my name is Barnum; I belong to the circus which arrived here last 
night, and I am sure Old Turner, my partner, has hoaxed you with this ridicu- 
lous story." 

"If he has we'll lynch him," said one of the mob. 

"Well, he has, I'll assure you, and if you will walk to the hotel with me. I'll 
convince you of the fact." 

This they reluctantly assented to, keeping, however, a close hand upon me. As 
we walked up the main street, the mob received a re-enforcement of some fifty 
or sixty, and I was marched like a malefactor up to the hotel. Old Turner stood 
on the piazza ready to explode with laughter. I appealed to him for heaven's 
sake to explain this matter, that I might be liberated. He continued to laugh, 
but finally told them " he believed there was some mistake about it. The fact is," 
said he, "my friend Barnum has a new suit of black clothes on and he looks so 
much like a priest that I thought he must be Avery." 

The crowd saw the joke and seemed satisfied. My new coat had been half toi-n 
from my back, and I had been very roughly handled. But some of the crowd 
apologized for the outrage, declaring that Turner ought to be served in the same 
way, while others advised me to "get even with him." I was very much 
offended, and when the mob dispersed I asked Turner what could have induced 
him to play such a trick upon me. 

"My dear Mr. Barnum," he replied, "it was all for our good. Remember, all 
we need to insure success is notoriety. You will see that this will be noised all 
about town as a trick played by one of the circus managers upon the other, and 
our pavilion will be crammed to-morrow night. " 

It was even so; the trick was told all over town and every one came to see the 
circus managers who were in a habit of playing practical jokes upon each other 
We had fine audiences while we remained at Annapolis, but it was a long time 
before I forgave Turner for his rascally " joke." 



Ak amusing incident occurred when we were at Hanover Court House, in Vir 
ginia. It rained so heavily that we could not perform there, and Turner decided 
to start for Richmond immediately after dinner, when he was informed by the 
landlord that as our agent had engaged three meals and lodging for the whole 
company, the entire bill must be paid whether we went then, or next niorning 
No compromise could be effected with the stubborn landlord, and so Turner 
proceeded to get the worth of his money as- follows: 

He ordered dinner at twelve o'clock, which was duly prepared and eaten. The 
table was cleared and re-set for supper at half -past twelve. At one o'clock we all 
went to bed, every man carrying a lighted candle to his room. There were thirty 
six of us and we all undressed and tumbled into bed as if we were going to stay 
all night. In half an hour we rose and went down to the hot breakfast which 
Turner had demanded and which we found smoking on the table. Turner was 
very grave, the landlord was exceedingly angry, and the rest of us were convulsed 
with laughter at the absurdity of the whole proceeding. We disposed of our 
breakfast as if we had eaten nothing for ten hours, and then started for Richmond 
with the satisfaction that we fairly settled with our unreasonable landlord. 

At Richmond, after performances were over one night, I managed to partially 
pay Turner for his Avery trick. A dozen or more of us were enjoying ourselves in 
the sitting-room of the hotel, telling stories and singing songs, when some of the 
company proposed sundry amusing arithmetical questions, followed by one from 
Turner which was readily solved. Hoping to catch Turner I then proposed the 
following problem : 

"Suppose a man is thirty years of age, and he has a child one year of age; 
he is thirty times older than his child. When the child is thirty years old, the 
father, being sixty, is only twice as old as his child. When the child is sixty the 
father is ninety, and therefore only one-third older than the child. When the 
child is ninety the father is one hundred and twenty, and therefore only one- 
fourth older than the child. Thus you see, the child is gradually but surely gain- 
ing on the parent, and as he certainly continues to come nearer and nearer, in time 
he must overtake him, The question therefore is, suppose it was possible for them 
to live long enough, how old would the father be when the child overtook him 
and became of the same age?" 

The company generally saw the catch ; but Turner was very much interested 
in the problem, and although he admitted he knew nothing about arithmetic, he 
was convinced that as the son was gradually gaining on the father he must reach 
him if there was time enough — say, a thousand years, or so — for the race. But 
an old gentleman gravely remarked that the idea of a son becoming as old as his 
father while both were living, was simply nonsense, and he offered to bet a dozen 
of champagne that the thing was impossible, even "in figures." Turner, who 
was a betting man, and who thought the problem might be proved, accepted the 
►vager; but he was rood convinced that however much the boy might relatively 



gain upon his father, there would always be thirty years difference in their ages. 
The champagne cost him £25, and he railed to see the fun of my arithmetic, 
though at last he acknowledged that it was a fair offset to the Avery trick. 

We went from Richmond to Petersburg, and from that place to Warrenton, 
North Carolina, where, October 30th, my engagement expired with a profit to 
myself of §1,200. I now separated from the circus company, taking Vi valla, 
James Sandford (a negro singer and dancer), several musicians, horses, wagons, 
and a small canvas tent with which I intended to begin a traveling exhibition of 
my own. My company started and Turner took me on the way in his own car- 
riage some twenty miles. We parted reluctantly, and my friend wished me every 
success in my new venture. 

On Saturday, November 12, 1836, we halted at Rocky Mount Falls, North Car- 
olina, and on my way to the Baptist Church, Sunday morning, I noticed a stand 
and benches in a grove near by, and determined to speak to the people if I was 
permitted. The landlord who was with me said that the congregation, coming 
from a distance to attend a single service, would be very glad to hear- a stranger, 
and 1 accordingly asked the venerable clergyman to announce that after service 
I would speak for half an hour in the grove. Learning that I was not a clergy- 
man, he declined to give the notice, but said that he had no objection to my 
making the announcement, which I did, and the congregation, numbering about 
three hundred, promptly came to hear me. 

I told them I was not a preacher, and had very little experience in public 
speaking; but I felt a deep interest in matters of morality and religion, and 
would attempt, in a plain way, to set before them the duties and privileges of 
man. I appealed to every man's experience, observation and reason, to confirm 
the Bible doctrine of wretchedness in vice and happiness in virtue. We cannot 
violate the laws of God with impunity, and He will not keep back the wages of 
well-doing. The outside show of things is of very small account. We must look 
to realities and not to appearances. " Diamonds may glitter on a vicious breast," 
but "the soul's calm sunshine and the heart-felt joy is virtue's prize." The 
rogue, the passionate man, the drunkard, are not to be envied even at the best, and 
a conscience hardened by sin is the most sorrowful possession we can think of. I 
went on in this way, with some scriptural quotations and familial- illustrations, 
for three-quarters of an hour. At the close of my address several persons took 
me by the hand, expressing themselves as greatly pleased and desiring to know 
my name; and I went away with the feeling that possibly I might have done 
some good in the beautiful grove on that charming Sunday morning. 

When we were at Camden, South Carolina, Sandford suddenly left me, and as 
1 had advertised negro songs and none of my company was competent to fill 
Sandford's place, not to disappoint my audience, I blacked myself and sung the 
advertised songs "Zip Coon," etc., and to my surprise was much applauded, 
while two of the songs were encored. One evening, after singing my songs, I 
heard a disturbance outside the tent, and going to the spot found a person disput- 
ing with my men. I took part on the side of the men, when the person who was 
quarreling with them drew a pistol and exclaiming, " You black scoundrel! how 
dare you use such language to a white man," he proceeded to cock it. I saw that 
he thought I was a negro and meant to blow my brains out. Quick as thought I 
rolled my sleeve up, showed my skin, and said, "I am as white as you are, sir." 
He dropped his pistol in positive fright and begged my pardon. My presence of 
mind saved me. 


On four different occasions in my life I have had a loaded pistol pointed at my 
head and each time I have escaped death by what seemed a miracle. I have also 
often been in deadly peril by accidents, and when I think of these things I realize 
my indebtedness to an all-protecting Providence. Reviewing my career, too, 
and considering the kind of company I kept for years and the associations with 
which I was surrounded and connected, 1 am surprised as well as grateful that 1 
was not ruined. I honestly believe that I owe my preservation from the degra- 
dation of living and dying a loafer and a vagabond, to the single fact that I was 
never addicted to strong drink. To be sure, I have in times past drank liquor, 
: mt I have generally wholly abstained from intoxicating beverages, and for more 
than twenty years past, I am glad to say, I have been a strict "teetotaller." 

At Camden I lost one of my musicians, a Scotchman named Cochran, who was 
arrested for advising the negro barber who was shaving him to run away to the 
Free States or to Cauada. I made every effort to effect Cochran's release, but he 
was imprisoned more than six months. 

I bought four horses and two wagons and hired Joe Pentland and Robert 
White to join my company. White, as a negro singer, would relieve me from 
that roll, and Pentland, besides being a capital clown, was celebrated as a ven- 
triloquist, comic singer, balancer, and legerdemain performer. My re-enforced 
exhibition was called "Barnum's Grand Scientific and Musical Theatre." 

Some time previously, in Raleigh, North Carolina, I had sold one-half of my 
establishment to a man, whom I will call Henry, who now acted as treasurer and 
ticket-taker. At Augusta, Georgia, the sheriff served a writ upon this Henry 
for a debt of $500. As Henry had $600 of the company's money in his possession, 
I immediately procured a bill of sale of all his property in the exhibition and 
returned to the theatre where Henry's creditor and the creditor's lawyer were 
waiting for me. They demanded the key of the stable so as to levy on the 
horses and wagons. I begged delay till I could see Henry, and they consented. 
Henry was anxious to cheat his creditor and he at once signed the bill of sale. 1 
returned and informed the creditor that Henry refused to pay or compromise 
the claim. The sheriff then demanded the keys of the stable door to attach 
Henry's interest in the property. "Not yet," said I, showing a bill of sale, 
" you see I am in full possession of the property as entire owner. You confess 
that you have not yet levied on it, and if you touch my property, you do it at 
your peril." 

They were very much taken aback, and the sheriff immediately conveyed 
Henry to prison. The next day I learned that Henry owed his creditors thirteen 
hundred dollars, and that'he had agreed when the Saturday evening performance 
was ended to hand over five hundred dollars (company money) and a bill of sale 
of his interest, in consideration of which one of the horses was to be ready f- >r 
him to run away with, leaving me in the lurch! Learning this, I had very little 
sympathy for Henry, and my next step was to secure the five hundred dollars he 
had secreted. Vi valla had obtained it from him to keep it from the sheriff; I| 
received it from Vivalla, on Henry's order, as a supposed means of proc uring 
bail for him on Monday morning. I then paid the creditor the full amount 
obtained from Henry as the price of his half interest in the exhibition and 
received in return an assignment of five hundred dollars of the creditor's claims 
and a guaranty that T should not be troubled by my late partner on that scon'. 
Thus, promptness of action and good luck relieved me from one of the most 
unpleasant positions in which 1 had ever been pin- 


While traveling with our teams and show through a desolate part of Georgia, 
our advertiser, who was in advance of the party, finding the route, on one occa- 
sion, too long for us to reach a town at night, arranged with a poor widow 
woman named Hayes, to furnish us with meals and let us lodge in her hut and 
out-houses. It was a beggarly place, belonging to one of the poorest of "poor 
whites." Our horses were to stand out all night, and a farmer, six miles distant, 
was to bring a load of provender on the day of our arrival. Bills were then 
posted announcing a performance under a canvas tent near Widow Hayes's, 
for, as a show was a rarity in that region, it was conjectured that a hundred or 
more small farmers and "poor whites" might be assembled and that the receipts 
would cover the expenses. 

Meanwhile, our advertiser, who was quite a wag, wrote back informing us of 
the difficulties of reaching a town on that part of our route, and stating that he 
had made arrangements for us to stay over night on the plantation of " Lady 
Hayes," and that although the country was sparsely settled, we could doubtless 
give a profitable performance to a fair audience. 

Anticipating a fine time on this noble "plantation," we started at four o'clock 
in the nioming so as to arrive at one o'clock, thus avoiding the heat of the after- 
uoon. Towards noon we came to a small river where some men, whom we 
afterwards discovered to be down-east Yankees, from Maine, were repairing a 
bridge. Every flooring plank had been taken up, and it was impossible for our 
teams to cross. " Could the bridge be fixed so that we could go over? " I inquired. 
"No; it would take half a day, and meantime, if* we must cross, there was a place 
about sixteen miles down the river where we could get over. "But we can't 
go so far as that; we are under engagement to perform on Lady Hayes's 
place to-night, and we must cross here. Fix the bridge and we will pay you 

They wanted no money, but if we would give them some tickets to our show 
they thought they might do something for us. I gladly consented, and in fifteen 
minutes we crossed that bridge. The cunning rascals had seen our posters and 
knew we were coming; so they had taken up the planks of the bridge and had 
hidden them till they had levied upon us for tickets, when the floor was re-laid 
iu a quarter of an hour. 

Towards dinner-time we began to look out for the grand mansion of "lady 
Hayes," and seeing nothing but little huts we quietly pursued our journey. At 
one o'clock — the time when we should have arrived at our destination — I became 
impatient, and riding up to a poverty-stricken hovel and seeing a ragged, bare- 
footed old woman, with her sleeves rolled up to her shoulders, who was washing 
clothes in front of the door, I inquired— 

" Hallo 1 can you tell me where Lady Hayes fives?" 

The old woman raised her head, which was covered with tangled locks and 
matted hair, and exclaimed — 


" No, Hayes, Lady Hayes; where is her plantation?" 

" This is the place," she answered; " I'm Widder Hayes, and you are all to stay 
here to-night." 

We could not believe our ears or eyes; but after putting the dirty old woman 
through a severe cross-examination she finally produced a contract, signed by 
our advertiser, agreeing for board and lodging for the company, and we f oimd 
ourselves booked for the night. It appeared that our advertiser could find no 
tetter quarters in that forlorn section, and he had indulged in a joke at our 


expense by exciting our appetites and imaginations in anticipation of the Luxu- 
ries we should find in the magnificent mansion of " Lady H r 

Joe Pentland grumbled, Bob "White indulged in some very strong language, and 
Signor Vivalla laughed. He had traveled with his monkey and organ in Italy 
and could put up with any fare that offered. I took the disappointment philo- 
sophically, simply remarking that we must make the best of it and compensate 
ourselves when we reached a town next day. 

The next forenoon we arrived at Macon, and congratulated ourselves that we 
had again reached the regions of civilization. 

In going from Columbus, Georgia, to Montgomery, Alabama, we were obliged 
to cross a thinly-settled, desolate tract, known as the "Indian Nation," and as 
several persons had been murdered by hostile Indians in that region, it was 
deemed dangerous to travel the road without an escort. Only the day before we 
started, the mail stage had been stopped and the passengei-s murdered, the driver 
alone escaping. We were well armed, however, and trusted that our numbers 
would present too formidable a force to be attacked, though we dreaded to incur 
the risk. Vivalla alone was fearless and was ready to encounter fifty Indians 
and drive them into the swamp. 

Accordingly, when we had safely passed over the entire route to within four- 
teen miles of Montgomery, and were beyond the reach of danger, Joe Pentland 
determined to test Vivalla' s bravery. He had secretly purchased at Mount Megs, 
on the way, an old Indian dress with a fringed hunting shirt and moccasins and 
these he put on, after coloring his face with Spanish brown. Then, shouldering 
his musket he followed Vivalla and the party and, approaching stealthily, leaped 
into their midst with a tremendous whoop. 

Vivalla' s companions were in the secret, and they instantly fled in all direc- 
tions. Vivalla himself ran like a deer and Pentland after him, gun in hand and 
yelling horribly. After running a full mile the poor little Italian, out of breath 
and frightened nearly to death, dropped on his knees and begged for his life. 
The "Indian" leveled his gun at his victim, but soon seemed to relent, and 
signified that Vivalla should turn his pockets inside out — which he did, produc- 
ing and handing over a purse containing eleven dollars. The savage then 
inarched Vivalla to an oak, and with a handkerchief tied him in the most 
approved Indian manner to the tree, leaving him half dead with fright. * 

Pentland then joined us, and washing his face and changing his dress, we all 
went to the relief of Vivalla. He was overjoyed to see us, and when he was 
released his courage returned ; he swore that after his companions left him, the 
Indian had been re-enforced by six more, to whom, in default of a gun or other 
means to defend himself, Vivalla had been compelled to surrender. We pre- 
tended to believe his story for a week, and then told him the joke, which he 
refused to credit, and also declined to take the money which Pentland offered 
to return, as it could not possibly be his since seven Indians had taken his money. 
We had a great deal of fun over Vivalla's courage, but the matter made him so 
cross and surly that we were finally obliged to drop it altogether. From that 
time forward, however, Vivalla never boasted of his prowess. 

We arrived at Montgomery, February 27th, 1837. Here I met Henry Hawley, 
a legerdemain performer, and I sold him one-half of my exhibition. He had a 
ready wit, a happy way of localizing his tricks, was very popular in that part of 
the country, where he had been performing for several years, and I never saw 
him nonplussed but once. This was when he was performing on one occasion the 
well-known egg and bag trick, which he did with his usual success, producing 

•See Illustration, page 40. 


after egg from the bag, and finally breaking one to show that they were genuine. 
"Now," said Hawley, "I will show you the old hen that laid them." It hap- 
pened, however, that the negro boy to whom had been intrusted the duty of 
supplying the bag had made a slight mistake, which was manifest when Hawley 
triumphantly produced, not " the old hen that laid the eggs," but a rooster! The 
whole audience was convulsed with laughter, and the abashed Hawley retreated 
to the dressing-room, cursing the stupidity of the black boy who had been paid 
to put a hen in the bag. 

After performing in different places in Alabama, Kentucky, and Tennessee, 
we disbanded at Nashville in May, 1837, Vivalla going to New York, where he 
performed on his own account for a while previous to sailing for Cuba, Hawley 
staying in Tennessee to look after our horses which had been turned out to grass, 
and I returning home to spend a few weeks with my family. 

Early in July, returning west with a new company of performers, I rejoined 
Hawley, and we began our campaign in Kentucky. We were not successful; 
one of our small company was incompetent; another was intemperate — both 
were dismissed; and our negro-singer was drowned in the river at Frank- 
fort. Funds were low, and I was obliged to leave pledges here and there, in 
payment for bills, which I afterwards redeemed. Hawley and I dissolved in 
August, and making a new partnership with Z. Graves, I left him in charge of 
the establishment and went to Tiffin, Ohio, where I re-engaged J6e Pentland, 
buying his horses and wagons, and taking him, with several musicians, to 

During my short stay at Tiffin, a religious conversation at the hotel introduced 
me to several gentlemen who requested me to lecture on the subjects we had 
discussed, and I did so to a crowded audience in the school-house Sunday after- 
noon and evening. At the solicitation of a gentleman from Republic, I also 
delivered two lectures in that town, on the evenings of September 4th and oth. 

On our way to Kentucky, just before we reached Cincinnati, we met a drove 
of hogs, and one of the drivers making an insolent remark because our wagons 
interfered with his swine, I replied in the same vein, when he dismounted and, 
pointing a pistol at my breast, swore he would shoot me if I did not apologise. 1 
begged him to permit me to consult a friend in the next wagon, and the misun 
derstanding should be satisfactorily settled. My friend was a loaded double 
barreled gun, which I pointed at him and said: 

"Now, sir, you must apologize, for your brains are in danger. You di-ewa 
weapon upon me for a trivial remark. You seem to hold human life at a cheap 
price; and now, sir, you have the choice between a load of shot and an apology." 

This led to an apology and a friendly conversation, in which we both agreed 
that many a life is sacrificed in sudden anger, because one or both of the con- 
tending parties carry deadly weapons. 

In our subsequent southern torn' we exhibited at Nashville (where I visitcu 
General Jackson, at the Hermitage), Hunts ville, Tuscaloosa, Vicksburg and inter- 
mediate places, doing tolerably well. At Vicksburg we sold all our land convey- 
ances, excepting the band wagon and f our horses, bought the steamboat "Ceres," 
for six thousand dollars, hired the captain and crew, and started down the river 
to exhibit at places on the way. At Natchez our cook left us, and in the search for 
another I found a white widow who would go, only she expected to marry a 
painter. I called on the painter who had not made up his mind whether to marry 
the widow or not, but I told him if he would marry her the next morning 1 
would lure her at twenty-five dollars a month as cook, employ him at the same 


wages as painter, with board for both, and a cash bonus of fifty dollars. There 
was a wedding on board the next day, and we had a good cook and a good dinner. 

Dining one of our evening performances at Francisville, Louisiana, a man 
tried to pass me at the door of the tent, claiming that he had paid for admit- 
tance. I refused him entrance ; and as he was slightly intoxicated, he struck me 
with a slung shot, mashing my hat and grazing what phrenologists call "the 
organ of caution." He went away and soon returned with a gang of armed and 
half -drunken companions, who ordered us to pack up our "traps and plunder" 
and to get on board our steamboat within an hour. The big tent speedily came 
down. No one was permitted to help us, but the company worked with a will, 
and within five minutes of the expiration of the hour we were on board and 
ready to leave. The scamps who had caused our departure escorted us and our 
last load, waving pine torches, and saluted us with a hurrah as we swung into 
the stream. 

The New Orleans papers of March 19, 1838, announced the arrival of the 
"Steamer Ceres, Captain Barnum, with a theatrical company." After a week's 
performances, we started for the Attakapas country. At Opelousas we ex- 
changed the steamer for sugar and molasses; our company was disbanded, and 
I started for home, arriving in New York, June 4, 1838L 




Longing now for some permanent, respectable business, I advertised for a part 
ner, stating that I had 82,500 to invest, and would add my unremitting personal 
attention to the capital and the business. This advertisement gave me an alto- 
gether new insight into human nature. Whoever wishes to know how some people 
live, or want to live, let him advertise for a partner, at the same time stating that 
he has a large or small capital to invest. I was flooded with answers to my adver- 
tisements and received no less than ninety-three different propositions for the use 
of my capital. Of these, at least one-third were from porter-house keepers. Bro- 
kers, pawnbrokers, lottery-policy dealers, patent medicine men, inventors, and 
others also made application. Some of my correspondents declined to specifically 
state the nature of their business, but they promised to open the door to untold 

I had interviews with some of these mysterious million-makers. One of them 
was a counterfeiter, who, after much hesitation and pledges of secrecy, showed 
me some counterfeit coin and bank notes; he wanted $2,500 to purchase paper and 
ink and to prepare new dies, and he actually proposed that I should join him in 
the business which promised, he declared, a safe and rich harvest. Another sedate 
individual, dressed in Quaker costume, wanted me to join him in an oat specula- 
tion. By buying a horse and wagon, and by selling oats, bought at wholesale, in 
bags, he thought a good business could be done, especially as people would not be 
particular to measure after a Quaker. 

" Do you mean to cheat in measuring your oats ?" I asked. 

" O, I should probably make them hold out," he answered, with a leer. 

One application came from a Pearl street wool merchant, who failed a month 
afterwards. Then came a " perpetual motion " man who had a fortune-making 
machine, in which I discovered a main-spring slyly hid in a hollow post, the 
spring making perpetual motion — till it ran down. Finally, I went into partner- 
ship with a German, named Proler, who was a manuf acturer of paste-blacking, 
water-proof paste for leather, Cologne water and bear's grease. We took the 
store No. 101>£ Bowery, at a rent (including the dwelling) of $600 per annum, 
and opened a large manufactory of the above articles. Proler manufactured and 
sold the goods at wholesale in Boston, Charleston, Cleveland, and various other 
parts of the country. I kept the accounts, and attended to sales in the store, 
wholesale and retail. For a while the business seemed to prosper— at least till my 
capital was absorbed and notes for stock began to fall due, with nothing to meet 
them, since we had sold our goods on long credits. In January, 1840, I dissolved 
partnership with Proler, he buying the entire interest for $2,600 on credit, and 
then mrmin g away to Rotterdam without paying his note, and leaving me noth- 
ing but a few receipts. Proler was a good-looking, plausible, promising — scamp. 

During my connection with Proler, I became acquainted with a remarkable 
young dancer named John Diamond, one of the first and best of the numerous 
negro and "break-down " dancers who have since surprised and amused the public, 



and I entered into an engagement with his father for his services, putting Dia- 
mond in the hands of an agent, as I did not wish to appear in the transaction. In 
the spring of 1840, 1 hired and opened the Vauxhall Garden saloon, in New York, 
and gave a variety of performances, including singing, dancing, Yankee stories, 
etc In this saloon Miss Mary Taylor, af terwards so celebrated as an actress and 
singer, made her first appearance on the stage. The enterprise, however, did not 
meet my expectation, and I relinquished it in August. 

"What was to be done next? I dreaded resuming the life of an itinerant show- 
man, but funds were low, I had a family to care for, and as nothing bettor pre- 
sented, I made up my mind to endure the vexations and uncertainties of a tour in 
the "West and South. 1 collected a company, consisting of Mr. C. D. Jenkins, an 
excellent singer and delineator of Yankee and other characters; Master John 
Diamond, the dancer; Francis Lynch, an orphan vagabond, fourteen years old, 
whom I picked up at Troy, and a fiddler. My brother-in-law, Mr. John Hallett, 
preceded us as agent and advertiser, and our route passed through Buffalo, 
Toronto, Detroit, Chicago, Ottawa, Springfield, the intermediate places, and St. 
Louis, where I took the steamboat for New Orleans with a company reduced by 
desertions to Master Diamond and the fiddler. 

Arriving in New Orleans, January 2d, 1841, I had but $100 in my purse, and I 
had started from New York four months before with quite as much in my pocket. 
Excepting some small remittances to my family I had made nothing more than 
current expenses: and, when I had been in New Orleans a fortnight, funds were 
so low that I was obliged to pledge my watch as security for my board bilk But 
on the 16th, I received from the St. Charles Theatre $500 as my half share of 
Diamond's benefit; the next night I had .$50; and the third night $479 was my 
share of the proceeds of a grand dancing match at the theatre between Diamond 
and a negro dancer from Kentucky. Subsequent engagements at Vicksburg and 
Jackson were not so successful, but returning to New Orleans we again succeeded 
admirably, and afterwards at Mobile. Diamond, however, after extorting con- 
siderable sums of money from me, finally ran away, and, March 12th, I started 
homeward by way of the Mississippi and the Ohio. 

At Pittsburg, where I arrived March 30th, I learned that Jenkins, who had 
enticed Francis Lynch away from me at St. Louis, was exhibiting him at the 
Museum under the name of "Master Diamond," and visiting the performance, 
the next day I wrote Jenkins an ironical review, for which he threatened suit, and 
he actually instigated R. W. Lindsay, from whom I hired Joice Heth in Phila- 
delphia in 1835, and whom I had not seen since, though he was then residing in 
Pittsburg, to sue me for a pipe of brandy which, it was pretended, was promised 
in addition to the money paid him. I was required to give bonds of $500, which, 
as I was among strangers, I could not immediately procure, and I was accord- 
ingly thrown into jail till four o'clock in the afternoon, when I was liberated. 
The next day I caused the arrest of Jenkins for trespass in assuming Master 
Diamond's name and reputation for Master Lynch, and he was sent to jail till 
four o'clock in the afternoon. Each having had his turn at this amusement, we 
adjourned our controversy to New York where I beat him. As for Lindsay, I 
heard nothing more of his claim or him till twelve years afterwards, when he 
called on me in Boston with an apology. He was very poor and I was highly 
prosperous, and I may add that Lindsay did not lack a friend. 

I arrived in New York, April 23d, 1841, after an absence of eight months, 
resolved once more that I would never again be an itinerant showman. Three 
days afterwards I contracted with Hubert Sears, the publisher, for live hundred 


copies of "Sears' Pictorial DJustrations of the Bible," at $500, and accepting the 
United States agency, I opened an office, May 10th, at the comer of Beeknian 
and Nassau streets, the site of the present Nassau Bank. I had had a limited 
experience with that book in this way: When I was in Pittsburg, an acquaintance, 
Mr. C. D. Harker, was complaining that he had nothing to do, when I picked up 
a New York paper and saw the advertisement of "Sears' Pictorial Illustrations 
of the Bible, price $2 a copy." Mr. Harker thought he could get subscribers, and 
I bought him a specimen copy, agreeing to f urnish him with as many as he wanted 
at §1.37)4 a copy, though I had never before seen the work, and did not know the 
wholesale price. The result was that he obtained eighty subscribers in two days, 
and made $50. My own venture in the work was not so successful; I advertised 
largely, had plenty of agents, and in six months, sold thousands of copies; but 
irresponsible agents used up all my profits and my capital 

While engaged in this business I once more leased Vauxhall saloon, opening it 
June 14th, 1841, employing Mr. John Hallett, my brother-in-law, as manager 
under my direction, and at the close of the season, September 25th, we had cleared 
about two hundred dollars. This sum was soon exhausted, and, with my family 
on my hands and no employment, I was glad to do anything that would keep the 
wolf from the door. I wrote advertisements and notices for the Bowery Amphi- 
theatre, receiving for the service four dollars a week, which I was very glad to 
get, and I also wrote articles for the Sunday papers, deriving a fair remuneration 
and managing to get a living. But I was at the bottom round of fortune's ladder, 
and it was necessary to make an effort which would raise me above want. 

I was specially stimulated to this effort by a letter which I received, about this 
time, from my esteemed friend, Hon. Thomas T. Whittlesey, of Danbury. He 
held a mortgage of five hundred dollars on a piece of property I owned in that 
place, and, as he was convinced that I would never lay up anything, he wrote me 
that I might as well pay him then as ever. This letter made me resolve to five no 
longer from hand to mouth, but to concentrate my energies upon laying up 
something for the future. 

While I was for min g this practical determination, I was much nearer to its 
realization than my most sanguine hopes could have predicted. The road to 
fortune was close by. 

As outside clerk for the Bowery Amphitheatre I had casually learned that the 
collection of curiosities comprising Scudder's American Museum, at the corner of 
Broadway and Ann streets, was for sale. It belonged to the daughters of Mr. 
Scudder, and was conducted for their benefit by John Furzman, under the 
authority of Mr. John Heath, administrator. The price asked for the entire 
collection was fifteen thousand dollars. It had cost its founder, Mr. Scudder, 
probably fifty thousand dollars, and from the profits of the establishment he had 
been able to leave a large competency to his children. The Museum, however, 
had been for several years a losing concern, and the heirs were anxious to sell it. 
Looking at this property, I thought I saw that energy, tact and liberality, were 
only needed to make it a paying institution, and I determined to purchase it if 

"You buy the American Museum!" said a friend, who knew the state of my 
funds, "what do you intend buying it with?" 

"Brass," I replied, "for silver and gold have I none." 

The Museum building belonged to Mr. Francis W. Olmsted, a retired merchant, 
to whom I wrote stating my desire to buy the collection, and that although I 
had no means, if it could be purchased upon reasonable credit, I was confident 


that my tacf and experience, added to a determined devotion to business, would 
enable me to make the payments when due. I therefore asked him to purchase 
the collection in his own name; to give me a writing securing it to me, provided I 
made the payments punctually, including the rent of his building; to allow me 
twelve dollars and a half a week on which to support my family; and if at an y 
time I failed to meet the installment due, I would vacate the premises, and f< 
all that might have been paid to that date. "In fact, Mr. Olmsted," I continued 
in my earnestness, " you may bind me in any way, and as tightly as you please — 
only give me a chance to dig out, or scratch out, and I will do so or forfeit all the 
labor and trouble I may have incurred." 

In reply to this letter, which I took to his house myself, he named an horn- whin 
I could call on him, and as I was there at the exact moment, he expressed hi] 
pleased with my punctuality. He inquired closely as to my habits and antece- 
dents, and I frankly narrated my experiences as a caterer for the public, mention- 
ing my amusement ventures in Vauxhall Garden, the circus, and in the exhibitiuns 
I had managed at the South and West. 

" Who are your references?" he inquired. 

"Any man in my line," I replied, "from Edmund Simpson, manager of the 
Park Theatre, or William Niblo, to Messrs. Welch, June, Titus, Turner, Angevine, 
or other circus or menagerie proprietors; also Moses Y. Beach, of the New York 

" Can you get any of them to call on me?" he continued. 

I told him that I could, and the next day my friend Niblo rode down and had 
an interview with Mr. Olmsted, while Mr. Beach and several other gentlemen 
also called, and the following morning I waited upon him for his decision. 

"I don't like your references, Mr. Barnum," said Mr. Olmsted, abruptly, as 
soon as I entered the room. 

I was confused, and said " I regretted to hear it." 

" They all speak too well of you," he added, laughing; "in fact they all talk as 
if they were partners of yours, and intended to share the profits." 

Nothing could have pleased me better. He then asked me what security I 
could offer in case he concluded to make the purchase for me, and it was finally 
agreed that, if he should do so, he should retain the property till it was entirely 
paid for, and should also appoint a ticket-taker and accountant (at my expense), 
who should render him a weekly statement. I was further to take an apartment 
hitherto used as a billiard room in his adjoining building, allowing therefor $500 
a year, making a total rental of $3,000 per annum, on a lease of ten years. He 
then told me to see the administrator and heirs of the estate, to get their best 
terms, and to meet him on his return to town a week from that time. 

I at once saw Mr. John Heath, the administrator, and his price was $15,000. 1 
offered $10,000, payable in seven annual installments, with good security. After 
several interviews, it was finally agreed that I should have it for $12,000, pay- 
able as above — possession to be given on the 15th of November. Mr. Olmsted 
assented to this, and a morning was appointed to draw and sign the writings. 
Mr. Heath appeared, but said he must decline proceeding any further in my case, 
as he had sold the collection to the directors of Peale's Museum (an incorporated 
institution) for $15,000, and had received $1,000 in advance. 

I was shocked, and appealed to Mr. Heath's honor. He said that he had signed 
no writing with me; was in no way legally bound, and that it was his duty to do 
the best he could for the heirs. Mr. Olmsted was sorry, but could not help me; 
the new tenants would not require him to incur any risk, and my matter was at 
an end. 


Of course, I immediately informed myself as to the character of Peale s Mus- 
eum company. It proved to be a band of speculators who had bought Peale's 
collection for a few thousand dollars, expecting to unite the American Museum 
with it, issue and sell" stock to the amount of $50,000, pocket $30,000 profits, and 
permit the stockholders to look out for themselves. 

I went immediately to several of the editors, including Major M. M. Noah, M 
Y. Beach, my good friends "West, Herrick and Ropes, of the Atlas, and others, 
and stated my grievances. ''Now," said I, "if you will grant me the use of 
your columns, I'll blow that speculation sky-high." They all consented, and I 
wrote a large number of squibs, cautioning the public against buying the Museum 
stock, ridiculing the idea of a board of broken-down bank directors engaging in 
the exhibition of stuffed monkeys and gander-ski us ; appealing to the case of the 
Zoological Institute, which had failed by adopting such a plan as the one now 
proposed; and finally, I told the public that such a speculation would be infinitely 
more ridiculous than Dickens' "Grand United Metropolitan Hot Muffin and 
Crumpet-baking and Punctual Delivery Company." 

The stock was as "dead as a herring!" I then went to Mr. Heath and asked 
him when the directors were to pay the other $14,000. "On the 26th day of 
December, or forfeit the $1,000 already paid," was the reply. I assured him that 
they would never pay it, that they could not raise it, and that he would ulti- 
mately find himself with the Museum collection on his hands, and if once I 
started off with an exhibition for the South, I would not touch the Museum at 
any price. "Now," said I, "if you will agree with me confidentially, that in 
case these gentlemen do not pay you on the 26th of December, I may have it on 
the 27th for $12,000, 1 will run the risk, and wait in this city until that date." He 
readily agreed to the proposition, but said he was sure they would not forfeit 
their $1,000. 

"Very welL" said I; "all I ask of you is, that this arrangement shall not be 
mentioned." He assented. "On the 27th day of December, at ten o'clock a. 
m., I wish you to meet me in Mr. Olmsted's apartments, prepared to sign the 
writings, provided this incorporated company do not pay you $14 000 on the 
26th." He agreed to this, and by my request put it in writing. 

From that moment I felt that the Museum was mine. I saw Mr. Olmsted, 
and told him so. He promised secrecy, and agreed to sign the document if the 
other parties did not meet their engagement. 

This was about November loth, and I continued my shower of newspaper 
squibs at the new company, which could not sell a dollar's worth of its stock. 
Meanwhile, if any one spoke to me about the Museum, I simply replied that J 
had lost it. 



My newspaper squib war against the Peale combination was vigorously kept 
up; when one morning, about the first of December, I received a letter from 
the secretary of that company (now calling itself the "New York Museum 
Company"), requesting me to meet the directors at the Museum on the following 
Monday morning. I went, and found the directors in session. The venerable 
president of the board, who was also the ex-president of a broken hank, blandly 
proposed to hire me to manage the united museums, and though I saw that he 
merely meant to buy my silence, I professed to entertain the proposition, and in 
reply to an inquiry as to what salary I should expect, I specified the sum of $3,000 
a year. This was at once acceded to, the salary to begin January 1, 1842, and 
after complimenting me on my ability, the president remarked: " Of course, Mr. 
Barnurn, we shall have no more of your squibs through the newspapers" — to 
which I replied that I should "ever try to serve the interests of my employers," 
and I took my leave. 

It was as clear to me as noonday, that after buying my silence so as to appre- 
ciate their stock, these directors meant to sell out to whom they could, leaving 
me to look to future stockholders for my salary. They thought, no doubt, that 
they had nicely entrapped me, but I knew I had caught them. 

For, supposing me to be out of the way, and having no other rival purchaser, 
these directors postponed the advertisement of their stock to give people time to 
forget the attacks I had made on it, and they also took their own time for pay- 
ing the money promised to Mr. Heath, December 26th — indeed, they did not even 
call on him at the appointed time. But on the following morning, as agreed, I 
was promptly and hopefully at Mr. Olmsted's apartments with my legal adviser, 
at half -past nine o'clock; Mr. Heath came with his lawyer at ten, and before two 
o'clock that day I was in formal possession of the American Museum. My first 
managerial act was to write and dispatch the following complimentary note: 

American Museum, New York, Dec. 27, 1841. 
To the Presid, ' and Directors of the New York Mweum: 

Gentlemen : It gives me great pleasure to Inform you that you are placed upon the 
Free List of this establishment until further notice. 

P. T. Barnum, Proprietor. 

It is unnecessary to say that the "President of the New York Museum " was 
astounded, and when he called upon Mr. Heath, and learned that I had bought 
and was really in possession of the American Museum, he was indignant. He 
talked of prosecution, and demanded the $1,000 paid on his agreement, but he did 
not prosecute, and he justly forfeited his deposit money. 

And now that I was proprietor and manager of the American Museum, I had 
reached a new epoch in my career, which I felt was the beginning of better days, 
though the full significance of this important step I did not see. I was still in 
the show business, but in a settled, substantial phase of it, that invited industry 



and enterprise, and called for ever earnest and ever heroic endeavor. Whether 1 
should sink or swim, depended wholly upon my own energy. I must pay for the 
establishment within a stipulated time, or forfeit it with whatever I had paid 
on account. I meant to make it my own, and brains, hands and every effort 
were devoted to the interests of the Museum. 

The nucleus of this establishment, Scudder's Museum, was formed in 1810, the 
year in which I was born. It was begun in Chatham street, and was afterwards 
transferred to the old City Hall, and from small beginnings, by purchases, and to 
a considerable degree by presents, it had grown to be a large and valuable collec- 
tion. People, in all parts of the country, had sent in relics and rare curiosities; 
sea captains, for years, had brought and deposited strange things from foreign 
lands; and besides all these gifts, I have no doubt that the previous proprietor 
had actually expended, as was stated, $50,000, in making the collection. No one 
could go through the halls, as they were when they came under my proprietor- 
ship, and see one-half there was worth seeing, in a single day; and then, as I 
always justly boasted afterwards, no one could visit my Museum and go away 
without feeling that he had received the full worth of his money. In looking 
over the immense collection, the accumulation of so many years, I saw that it 
was only necessary to properly present its merits to the public, to make it the 
most attractive and popular place of resort and entertainment in the United 

Valuable as the collection was when I bought it, it was only the beginning of 
the American Museum as I made it. In my long proprietorship, I considerably 
more than doubled the permanent attractions and curiosities of the establish- 
ment. In 1842, 1 bought and added to my collection the entire contents of Peale's 
Museum; in 1850, 1 purchased the large Peale collection in Philadelphia; and year 
after year, I bought genuine curiosities, regardless of cost, wherever I could find 
them, in Europe or America. 

At the very outset, I was determined to deserve success. My plan of economy 
included the intention to support my family in New York on §600 a year, and 
my treasure of a wife, not only gladly assented, but was willing to reduce the 
sum to 8400, if necessary. Some six months after I had bought the Museum, 
Mr. Olmsted happened in at my ticket-office at noon, and found me eating a 
frugal dinner of cold corned beef and bread, which I had brought from home. 

" Is this the way you eat your dinner? " he asked. 

"I have not eaten a warm dinner, except on Sundays," I replied, "since 1 
bought the Museum, and I never intend to, on a week day, till I am out of debt." 

"Ah!" said he, clapping me on the shoulder, "you are safe, and will pay for 
the Museum before the year is out." 

And he was right, for within twelve months I was in full possession of the 
property as my own, and it was entirely paid for from the profits of the business. 

In 1865, the space occupied for my Museum purposes was more than double 
what it was hi 1842. The Lecture Room, originally narrow, ill-contrived and 
inconvenient, was so enlarged and improved that it became one of the most com- 
modious and beautiful amusement halls in the city of New York At first, my 
attractions and inducements were merely the collection of curiosities by day, 
and an evening entertainment, consisting of such variety performances as were 
current in ordinary show*s. Then Saturday afternoons, and, soon afterwards, 
Wednesday afternoons were devoted to entertainments, and the popularity of the 
Museum grew so rapidly that I presently found it expedient and profitable tc 
open the great Lecture Room every afternoon, as well as every evening, on every 


week-day in the year. The first experiments in this direction, more than justi- 
fied my expectations, for the day exhibitions were always more thronged than 
those of the evening. Of course I made the most of the holidays, advertising 
extensively and presenting extra inducements; nor did attractions elsewhere 
seem to keep the crowd from coming to the Museum. On great holidays, I gave 
as many as twelve perf ormances to as many different audiences. 

By degrees the character of the stage performances was changed. The tran- 
sient attractions of the Museum were constantly diversified, and educated dogs, 
industrious fleas, automatons, jugglers, ventriloquists, living statuary, tableaux, 
gipsies, Albinoes, fat boys, giants, dwarfs, rope-dancers, live "Yankees," panto- 
mime, instrumental music, singing and dancing in great variety, dioramas, 
panoramas, models of Niagara, Dublin, Paris, and Jerusalem; Hannington's 
dioramas of the Creation, the Deluge, Fairy Grotto, Storm at Sea; the first 
English Punch and Judy in this country, Italian Fantoceini, mechanical figures, 
fancy glass-blowing, knitting machines and other triumphs in the mechan- 
ical arts; dissolving views, American Indians, who enacted their warlike and 
religious ceremonies on the stage, — these, among others, were all exceedingly 

I thoroughly understood the art of advertising, not merely by means of print- 
er's ink, which I have always used freely, and to which I confess myself so much 
indebted for my success, but by toirning every possible circumstance to my 
account. It was my monomania to make the Museum the town wonder and town 
talk. I often seized upon an opportunity by instinct, even before I had a very 
definite conception as to how it should be used, and it seemed, somehow, to ma- 
ture itself and serve my purpose. As an illustration, one morning a stout, 
hearty-looking man came into my ticket-office and begged some money. I asked 
him why he did not work and earn his living ? He replied that he could get 
nothing to do, and that he woidd be glad of any job at a dollar a day. I handed 
him a quarter of a dollar, told him to go and get his breakfast and return, and I 
would employ him, at light labor, at a dollar and a half a day. When he returned 
I gave him five common bricks. 

"Now," said I, "go and lay a brick on the sidewalk, at the corner of Broadway 
and Ann street ; another close by the Museum ; a third diagonally across the 
way, at the corner of Broadway and Vesey street, by the Astor House ; put 
down the fourth on the sidewalk, in front of St. Paul's Church, opposite ; then, 
with the fifth brick in hand, take up a rapid march from one point to the other, 
making the circuit, exchanging your brick at every point, and say nothing to 
any one. 

" What is the object of this ?" inquired the man. 

"No matter," I replied ; "all you need to know is that it brings you fifteen 
cents wages per hour. It is a bit of my f im, and to assist me properly you must 
seem to be as deaf as a post ; wear a serious countenance ; answer no questions ; 
pay no attentien to any one ; but attend faithfully to the work, and at the end of 
every hour, by St. Paul's clock, show this ticket at the Museum door ; enter, 
walking solemnly through every hall in the building ; pass out, and resume your 

With the remark that it was "all one to him, so long as he could earn his 
living," the man placed his bricks, and began his round. Half an hour after- 
wards, at least five hundred people were watching his mysterious movements. He 
had assumed a military step and bearing, and, looking as aober as a judge, he 
made no response whatever to the constant inquiries as to the object of his sin- 


gular conduce. At the end of the first hour, the sidewalks in the vicinity were 
packed with people, all anxious to solve the mystery. The man, as directed, then 
went into the Museum, devoting fifteen minutes to a solemn survey of the halls, 
and afterwards retm-ning to his round. This was repeated every hour till sun- 
down, and whenever the man went into the Museum a dozen or more persons 
would buy tickets and follow him, hoping to gratify their curiosity in regard to 
the purpose of his movements. This was continued for several days — the curious 
people who followed the man into the Museum considerably more than paying 
his wages — till finally the policeman, to whom I had imparted my object, com- 
plained that the obstruction of the sidewalk by crowds, had become so serious 
fchat I must call in my "brick man." This trivial incident excited considerable 
talk and amusement ; it advertised me ; and it materially advanced my purpose 
of making a lively corner near the Museum. 

The stories illustrating merely my introduction of novelties would more than 
fill this book, but I must make room for a few of them. 

An actor, named La Rue, presented himself as an imitator of celebrated his- 
trionic personages, including Macready, Forrest, Kemble, the elder Booth, Kean, 
Hamblin and others. Taking him into the green-room for a private rehearsal, and 
finding his imitations excellent, I engaged him. For three nights he gave great 
satisfaction, but early in the fourth evening he staggered into the Museum so 
drunk that he could hardly stand, and in half an horn* he must be on the stage ! 
Calling an assistant, we took La Rue between us, and marched him up Broadway 
as far as Chambers street, and back to the lower end of the Park, hoping to 
sober him. At this point we put his head under a pump, and gave him a good 
ducking, with visible beneficial effect — then a walk around the Park, and another 
ducking,— when he assured me that he should be able to give his imitations " to a 

"You drunken brute," said I, "if you fail, and disappoint my audience, I will 
throw you out of the window." 

He declared that he was " all right," and I led him behind the scenes, where I 
waited with considerable trepidation to watch his movements on the stage. He 
began by saying : 

"Ladies and gentlemen : I will now give you an imitation of Mr. Booth, the 
eminent tragedian." 

His tongue was thick, his language somewhat incoherent, and I had great mis- 
givings as he proceeded ; but as no token of disapprobation came from the 
audience, I began to hope he would go through with his parts without exciting 
suspicion of his condition. But before he had half finished his representation of 
Booth, in the soliloquy in the opening act of Richard III., the house discovered 
that he was very drunk, and began to hiss. This only seemed to stimulate him to 
make an effort to appear sober, which, as is usual in such cases, only made matters 
worse, and the hissing increased. I lost all patience, and going on the stage and 
taking the drunken fellow by the collar, I apologized to the audience, assuring 
them that he should not appear before them again. I was about to march him 
off, when he stepped to the front, and said: 

" Ladies and gentlemen : Mr. Booth often appeared on the stage in a state of 
inebriety, and I was simply giving you a truthful representation of him on such 
occasions. I beg to be permitted to proceed with my imitations." 

The audience at once supposed it was all right, and cried out, ' go on, go on " ; 
which he did, and at every imitation of Booth, whether as Richard, Shylock, or 
Sir Giles Overreach, he received a hearty round of applause. [ was quite 


delighted with his success ; but when he came to imitate Forrest and Hamblin, 
necessarily representing them as drunk also, the audience could be no longer 
deluded ; the hissing was almost deafening, and I was forced to lead the actor off. 
It was his last appearance on my stage. 

I determined to make people talk about my Museum; to exclaim over its won- 
ders; to have men and women all over the country say: "There is not another 
place in the United States where so much can be seen for twenty-five cents as in 
Barnum's American Museum." It was the best advertisement I could possibly 
have, and one for which I could afford to pay. I knew, too, that it was an 
honorable advertisement, because it was as deserved as it was spontaneous. And 
so, in addition to the permanent collection and the ordinary attractions of the 
stage, I labored to keep the Museum well supplied with transient novelties ; I 
exhibited such living curiosities as a rhinoceros, giraffes, grizzly bears, ourang- 
outangs, great serpents, and whatever else of the kind money would buy or 
enterprise secure. 

It was the world's way then, as it is now, to excite the community with flaming 
posters, promising almost everything for next to nothing. I confess that I took 
no pains to set my enterprising fellow-citizens a better example. I fell in with 
the world's way; and if my " puffing" was more persistent, my advertising more 
audacious, my posters more glaring, my pictures more exaggerated, my flags 
more patriotic and my transparencies more brilliant than they would have been 
under the management of my neighbors, it was not because I had less scruple 
than they, but more energy, far more ingenuity, and a better foundation for 
such promises. In all this, if I cannot be justified, I at least find palliation in the 
fact that I presented a wilderness of wonderful, instructive and amusing realities 
of such evident and marked merit that I have yet to learn of a single instance 
where a visitor went away from the Museum complaining that he had been de- 
frauded of his money. Surely this is an offset to any eccentricities to which I 
may have resorted to make my establishment widely known. 

Very soon after introducing my extra exhibitions, I purchased for $200, a 
curiosity which had much merit and some absurdity. It was a model of Niagara 
Falls, in which the merit was that the proportions of the great cataract, the 
trees, rocks, and buildings in the vicinity were mathematically given, while the 
absurdity was in introducing " real water " to represent the falls. Yet the model 
served a purpose in making "a good line in the bill " — an end in view which was 
never neglected — and it helped to give the Museum notoriety. One day I was 
summoned to appeal- before the Board of Croton Water Commissioners, and was 
informed that as I paid only $25 per annum for water at the Museum, I must pay 
a large extra compensation for the supply for my Niagara Falls. I begged the 
board not to believe all that appeared in the papers, nor to interpret my show- 
bills too literally, and assured them that a single barrel of water, if my pump 
was hi good order, would furnish my falls for a month. 

It was even so, for the water flowed into a reservoir behind the scenes, and was 
forced back with a pump over the falls. On one occasion, Mr. Louis Gaylord 
Clark, the editor of the Knickerbocker, came to view my Museum, and intro- 
duced himself to me. As I was quite anxious that my establishment should 
receive a first-rate notice at his hands, I took pains to show him everything of 
interest, except the Niagara Falls, which I feared would prejudice him against 
my entire show. But as we passed the room, the pump was at work, warning 
me that the great cataract was in full operation, and Clark, to my dismay, 
insisted upon seeing it. 


" Weil, Bamuin, I declare, this is quite a new idea ; I never saw the like before." 

"No ?" I faintly inquired, with something like reviving hope. 

" No," said Clark, " and I hope, with all my heart, I never shall again." 

But the Knickerbocker spoke kindly of me, and refrained from all allusions to 
" the Cataract of Niagara, with real water." Some months after, Clark came in 
breathless one day, and asked me if I had the club with which Captain Cook was 
killed i As I had a lot of Indian war clubs in the collection of aboriginal curiosi 
ties, and owing Clark something on the old Niagara Falls account, I told him ] 
had the veritable club, with documents which placed its identity beyond question, 
and I showed him the warlike weapon. 

"Poor Cook! Poor Cook!" said Clark, musingly. "Well, Mr. Barnuni," he 
continued, with great gravity, at the same time extending his hand and giving 
mine a hearty shake, "I am really very much obliged to you for your kindness. 
I had an irrepressible desire to see the club that killed Captain Cook, and I felt 
quite confident you could accommodate me. I have been in half a dozen smaller 
museums, and as they all had it, I was sure a large establishment like yours 
would not be without it." 

A few weeks afterwards, I wrote to Clark that if he would come to my office I 
was anxious to consult him on a matter of great importance. He came, and 1 

" Now, I don't want any of your nonsense, but I want your sober advice." 

He assured me that he would serve me in any way in his power, and I pro- 
ceeded to tell him about a wonderful fish from the Nile, offered to me for exhibi 
tion at §100 a week, the owner of which was willing to forfeit 85,000, if, within 
six weeks, this fish did not pass through a transformation in which the tail would 
disappear and the fish would then have legs. 

" Is it possible ! " asked the astonished Clark. 

1 assured him that there was no doubt of it. 

Thereupon he advised me to engage the wonder at any price ; that it would 
startle the naturalists, wake up the whole scientific world, draw in the masses, 
and make $20,000 for the Museum. I told him that I thought well of the specu- 
lation, only I did not like the name of the fish. 

"That makes no difference whatever," said Clark; "what is the name of the 

"Tadpole," I replied, with becoming gravity, "but it is vulgarly called 
'pollywog.' " 

" Sold, by thunder ! " exclaimed Clark, and he left. 

A curiosity, which in an extraordinary degree served my ever-present object 
of extending the notoriety of the Museum, was the so-called "Feejee Mermaid." 
It has been supposed that this mermaid was manufactured by my order, but such 
is not the fact. I was known as a successful showman, and strange things of 
every sort were brought to me from all quarters, for sale or exhibition. In the 
summer of 1843, Mr. Moses Kimball, of the Boston Museum, came to New York 
and showed me what purported to be a mermaid. He had bought it from a 
sailor, whose father, a sea captain, had purchased it in Calcutta, in 1822, from 
some Japanese sailors. I may mention here that this identical preserved speci- 
men was exhibited in London in 1822, as I fully verified in my visit to that city 
hi L858, for I found an advertisement of it in an old file of the London Times, 
and a friend gave me a copy of the Mirror, published by J. Limbird, 335 Strand, 
November 9, 1822, containing a cut of this same creature and two pages of letter- 
press describing it, together with an account of other mermaids said to have been 


captured in different parts of the world. The Mirror stated that this specimen 
was "the great source of attraction in the British metropolis, and three to four 
hundred people every day paid their shilling to see it." 

This was the curiosity which had fallen into Mr. Kimball's hands. I requested 
my naturalist's opinion of the genuineness of the animal, and he said he could 
not conceive how it could have been manufactured, for he never saw a monkey 
with such peculiar teeth, arms, hands, etc., and he never saw a fish with such 
peculiar fins; but he did not believe in mermaids. Nevertheless, I concluded to 
hire this curiosity and to modify the general incredulity as to the possibility of 
the existence of mermaids, and to awaken curiosity to see and examine the 
specimen, I invoked the potent power of printer's ink. 

Since Japan has been opened to the outer world, it has been discovered that 
certain "artists" in that country manufacture a great variety of fabulous 
animals, with an ingenuity and mechanical perfection well calculated to deceive. 
No doubt my mermaid was a specimen of this curious manufacture. I used it 
mainly to advertise the regular business of the Museum, and this effective 
indirect advertising is the only feature I can commend, in a special show of which, 
I confess, I am not proud. Newspapers throughout the country copied the 
mermaid notices, fbr they were novel and caught the attention of readers. Thus 
was the fame of the Museum, as well as the mermaid, wafted from one end of 
the land to the other. I was careful to keep up the excitement, for I knew that 
every dollar sown in advertising would return in tens, and perhaps hundreds, in 
a future harvest, and after obtaining all the notoriety possible by advertising 
and by exhibiting the mermaid at the Museum, I sent the curiosity throughout 
the country, directing my agent to everywhere advertise it as "From Barnum's 
Great American Museum, New York." The effect was immediately felt; money 
flowed in rapidly, and was readily expended in more advertising. 

When I became proprietor of the establishment, there were only the words: 
"American Museum," to indicate the character of the concern; there was no 

bustle or activity about the place ; no posters to announce what was to be seen ; 

the whole exterior was as dead as the skeletons and stuffed skins within. My 
experiences had taught me the advantages of advertising. I printed whole columns 
in the papers, setting forth the wonders of my establishment. Old "fogies" 
opened their eyes in amazement at a man who could expend hundreds of dollars 
in announcing a show of " stuffed monkey skins ; " but these same old fogies paid 
their quarters, nevertheless, and when they saw the curiosities and novelties in 
the Museum halls, they, like all other visitors, were astonished as well as pleased, 
and went home and told their friends and neighbors, and thus assisted in adver- 
tising my business. 

Other and not less effective advertising,— flags and banners,— began to adorn 
the exterior of the building. I kept a band of music on the front balcony and 
announced " Free Music for the Million." People said, "Well, that Barnum is a 
liberal fellow to give us music for nothing," and they flocked down to hear my 
outdoor free concerts. But I took pains to select and maintain the poorest band 
I could find— one whose discordant notes would drive the crowd into the Museum, 
out of earshot of my outside orchestra. Of course, the music was poor. When 
people expect to get »' something for nothing " they are sure to be cheated. Pow- 
erful Drummond lights were placed at the top of the Museum, which, in the 
darkest night, threw a flood of light up and down Broadway, from the Battery 
to Niblo's, that would enable one to read a newspaper in the street. These were 
the first Drummond lights ever seen in New York, and they made people talk, 
and so advertised my Museum. 



The American Museum was the ladder by which I rose to fortune. Whenever 
1 cross Broadway at the head of Vesey street, and see the Herald building and 
that gorgeous pile, the Park Bank, my mind's eye recalls that less solid, more showy 
edifice which once occupied the site, and was covered with pictures of all manner 
of beasts, birds and creeping things, and in which were treasures that brought 
treasures and notoriety and pleasant hours to me. The Jenny Lind enterprise 
was more audacious, more immediately remunerative, and I remember it with a 
pride which I do not attempt to conceal; but instinctively I often go back and 
live over again the old days of my struggles and triumphs in the American 

The Museum was always open at sunrise, and this was so well known throughout 
the country that strangers coming to the city would often take a tour through 
my halls before going to breakfast or to their hotels. I do not believe there was 
ever a more truly popular place of amusement. I frequently compared the annual 
number of visitors with the number officially reported as visiting (free of charge) 
the British Museum in London, and my fist was invariably the larger. Nor do I 
believe that any man or manager ever labored more industriously to please his 
patrons. I furnished the most attractive exhibitions which money could procure ; 
I abolished all vulgarity and profanity from the stage, and I prided myself upon 
the fact, that parents and children could attend the dramatic performances in the 
so-called Lecture Room, and not be shocked or offended by anything they might 
see or hear; I introduced the "Moral Drama," producing such plays as "The 
Drunkard," " Uncle Tom's Cabin," " Moses in Egypt," " Joseph and his Brethren," 
and occasional spectacular melodramas produced with great care at considerable 

Mr. Sothern, who has since attained such wide-spread celebrity at home and 
abroad as a character actor, was a member of my dramatic company for one or 
two seasons. Mr. Barney Williams also began his theatrical career at the Museum, 
occupying, at first, quite a subordinate position, at a salary of ten dollars a week. 
During his last twelve or fifteen years, I presume his weekly receipts, when he 
acted, must have been nearly 63,000. The late Miss Mary Gannon also commenced 
at the Museum, and many more actors and actresses of celebrity have been, from 
time to time, engaged there. What was once the small Lecture Room was con- 
verted into a spacious and beautiful theater, extending over the lots adjoining the 
Museum, and capable of holding about three thousand persons. The saloons were 
greatly multiplied and enlarged, and the "egress" having been made to work to 
perfection, on holidays I advertised Lecture Room performances every horn- 
through the afternoon and evening, and consequently the actors and actresses 
were dressed for the stage as early as eleven o'clock in the morning, and did not 
resume their ordinary clothes till ten o'clock at night. In these busy days the 
meals for the company were brought in and served in the dressing-rooms and 
green-rooms, and the company always received extra pay. 



I confess that I liked the Museum mainly for the opportunities it afforded for 
rapidly making money. Before I bought it, I weighed the mutter well in my 
mind, and was convinced that I could present to the American public such a 
variety, quantity and quality of amusement, blended with instruction, "all for 
twenty-five cents, children half price," that my attractions would be irresistible, 
and my fortune certain. I myself relished a higher grade of amusement, and I 
was a frequent attendant at the opera, first-class concerts, lectures, and the like ; 
but I worked for the milli on, and I knew the only way to make a million from 
my patrons was to give them abundant and wholesome attractions for a small 
sum of money. 

About the first of July, 1842, 1 began to make arrangements for extra novelties, 
additional performances, a large amount of extra advertising, and an out-door 
display for the " Glorious Fourth." Large parti-colored bills were ordered, trans- 
parencies were prepared, the free band of music was augmented by a trumpeter, 
and columns of advertisements, headed with large capitals, were written and put 
on file. 

I wanted to run out a string of American flags across the street on that day, 
for I knew there would be thousands of people passing the Museum with leisure 
and pocket-money, and I felt confident that an unusual display of national flags 
would arrest their patriotic attention, and bring many of them within my walls. 
Unfortunately for my purpose, St. Paul's Church stood directly opposite, and 
there was nothing to which I could attach my flag-rope, unless it might be one of 
the trees in the church-yard. I went to the vestrymen for permission to so 
attach my flag -rope on the Fourth of July, and they were indignant at what they 
called my "insulting proposition ;" such a concession would be "sacrilege." I 
plied them with arguments, and appealed to their patriotism, but in vain. 

Returning to the Museum, I gave orders to have the string of flags made ready, 
with directions at daylight on the Fourth of July to attach one end of the rope 
to one of the third-story windows of the Museum, and the other end to a tree in 
St. Paul's churchyard. The great day arrived, and my orders were strictly 
followed. The flags attracted great attention. By half -past nine Broadway was 
thronged, and about that time two gentlemen, in a high state of excitement, rushed 
into my office, announcing themselves as injured and insulted vestrymen of St. 
Paul's Church. 

" Keep cool, gentlemen," said I; "I guess it is all right." 

"Right!" indignantly exclaimed one of them, "do you think it is right to 
attach your Museum to our Church? "We will show you what is ' right ' and what 
is law, if we five till to-morrow; those flags must come down instantly." 

"Thank you," I said, "but let us not be in a hurry. I will go out with you 
and look at them, and I guess we can make it all right." 

Going into the street, I remarked: "Really, gentlemen, these flags look very 
beautiful; they do not injure your tree; I always stop my balcony music for yom 
accommodation whenever you hold week-day services, and it is but fair that you 
should return the favor." 

""We could indict your 'music,' as you call it, as a nuisance, if we chose," 
answered one vestryman, "and now I tell you that if these flags are not taken 
down in ten minutes, J will cut them down. " 

His indignation was at boiling point. The crowd in the street was dense, and 
the angry gesticulation of the vestryman attracted their attention. I saw there 
was no use in trying to parley with him or coax him, and so, assuming an angry 
air, I rolled up my sleeves, and exclaimed, in a loud tone, 


" Well, Mister, I should just like to see you dare to cut down the American flag 
on the Fourth of July; you must be a ' Britisher ' to make such a threat as that; 
but I'll show you a thousand pairs of Yankee hands in two minutes, if you dare 
to attempt to take down the stars and stripes on this great birth-day of American 
freedom ! " * 

"What's that John Bull a-saying?" asked a brawny fellow, placing himself in 
front of the irate ves t ryman. "Look here, old fellow," he continued, "if you 
want to save a whole bone in your body, you had better slope, and never dare to 
talk again about hauling down the American flag in the city of New York." 

Throngs of excited, exasperated men crowded around, and the vestryman, 
seeing the effect of my ruse, smiled faintly and said, " Oh, of course it is all right," 
and he and his companion quietly edged out of the crowd. 

On that Fourth of July, at one o'clock p. m., my Museum was so densely 
crowded that we could admit no more visitors, and we were compelled to stop the 
sale of tickets. Looking down into the street it was a sad sight to see the thousands 
of people who stood ready with their money to enter the Museum, but who were 
actually turned away. It was exceedingly harrowing to my feelings. Rushing 
down stairs, I told my carpenter and his assistants to cut through the partition 
and floor in the rear and to put in a temporary flight of stairs so as to let out 
people by that egress into Ann street. By three o'clock the egress was opened, 
and a few people were passed down the new stall's, while a corresponding number 
came in at the front. But I lost a large amount of money that day by not having 
sufficiently estimated the value of my own advertising, and consequently not 
having provided for the thousands who had read my announcements and seen my 
outside show, and had taken the first leisure day to visit the Museum. I had 
learned one lesson, however, and that was to have the egress ready on future 

Early in the following March I received notice from some of the Irish popula- 
tion that they meant to visit me in great numbers on " St. Patrick's day in the 
morning." "All right," said I to my carpenter, "get your egress ready for 
March 17 ;" and I added, to my assistant manager : "If there is much of a 
crowd, don't let a single person pass out at the front, even if it were St. Patrick 
himself ; put every man out through the egress in the rear." The day came, and 
before noon we were caught in the same dilemma as we were on the Fourth of 
July ; the Museum was jammed, and the sale of tickets was stopped. I went to 
the egress and asked the sentinel how many hundreds had passed out ? 

"Hundreds," he replied, "why only three persons have gone out by this 
way and they came back, saying that it was a mistake and begging to be let in 

"What does this mean ?" I inquired ; "surely thousands of people have been 
all over the Museum since they came in." 

" Certainly," was the reply, "but after they have gone from one saloon to an- 
other, and have been on every floor, even to the roof, they come down and travel 
the same route over again." 

At this time I espied a tall Irish woman with two good-sized children whom 1 
had happened to notice when they came early in the morning." 

"Step this way, madam," said I, politely, "you will never be able to get into 
the street by the front door without crushing these dear children. We have 
opened a large egress here, and you can pass by these rear stairs into Ann 
street and thus avoid all danger." 

* See Illustration, page 48. 


"Sure," replied the woman, indignantly, "an' I'm not going out at all, at all, 
nor the children aither, for we've brought our dinners and we are going to stay 
all day." 

Further investigation showed that pretty much all of my visitors had brought 
their dinners with the evident intention of literally "making a day of it." No 
one expected to go home till night ; the building was overcrowded, and mean- 
while hundreds were waiting at the front entrance to get in when they could. 
In despair I sauntered upon the stage behind the scenes, biting my lips with vex- 
ation, when I happened to see the scene-painter at work and a happy thought 
struck me : " Here," 1 exclaimed, "take a piece of canvas four feet square, and 
paint on it, as soon as you can, in large letters, 

^•to the egress." 

Seizing his brush, he finished the sign in fifteen minutes, and I directed the car 
penter to nail it over the door leading to the back stairs. He did so, and as the 
crowd, after making the entire tour of the establishment, came pouring down 
the main stairs from the third story, they stopped and looked at the new sign, 
while some of them read audibly : "To the Aigress." 

"The Aigress," said others, "sure that's an animal we haven't seen," and the 
throng began to pour down the back stairs only to find that the "Aigress" was 
the elephant, and that the elephant was all out o'doors, or so much of it as began 
with Ann street. Meanwhile, I began to accommodate those who had long been 
waiting with their money at the Broadway entrance. 

Money poured in upon me so rapidly that I was sometimes actually embar- 
rassed to devise means to carry out my original plan for laying out the entire 
profits of the first year in advertising. I meant to sow first and reap afterwards. 
I finally hit upon a plan which cost a large sum, and that was to prepare large 
oval oil paintings to be placed between the windows of the entire building, repre- 
senting nearly every important animal known in zoology. These paintings were 
put on the building in a single night, and so complete a transformation in the ap- 
pearance of an edifice is seldom witnessed. When the living stream rolled down 
Broadway the next morning and reached the Astor House corner, opposite the 
Museum, it seemed to meet with a sudden check. 1 never before saw so many 
open mouths and astonished eyes. Some people were puzzled to know what it all 
meant ; some looked as if they thought it was an enchanted palace that had sud- 
denly sprung up ; others exclaimed, "Well, the animals all seem to have 'broken 
out' last night," and hundreds came in to see how the establishment survived the 
sudden eruption. 

From that morning the Museum receipts took a jump forward of nearly a hun- 
dred dollars a day, and they never fell back again. 

The Museum had become an established institution in the land. Now and then 
some one would cry out "humbug" and " charlatan," but so much the better for 
me; it helped to advertise me, and I was willing to bear the reputation. 

On several occasions I got up " Baby shows," at which I paid liberal prizes for 
the finest baby, the fattest baby, the handsomest twins, for triplets, and so on. 
These shows were as popular as they were unique, and while they paid, in a finan- 
cial point of view, my chief object in getting them up was to set the newspapers 
to talking about me, thus giving another blast on the trumpet which I always 
tried to keep blowing for the Museum. Flower shows, dog shows, poultry shows 
and bird shows, were held at intervals in my establishment and in each instance 
the same end was attained as by the baby shows. I gave prizes in the shape of 


medals, money and diplomas, and the whole came back to me four-fold in the 
shape of advertising. 

There was great difficulty, however, in awarding the principal prize of $100 at 
the baby shows. Every mother thought her own baby the brightest and best, and 
confidently expected the capital prize. 

For where was ever seen the mother 
Would give her baby for another ? 

Not foreseeing this when I first stepped into the expectant circle and announced 
in a matter of fact way that a committee of ladies had decided upon the baby of 
Mrs. So and So as entitled to the leading prize, I was ill-prepared for the storm 
of indignation that arose on every side. Ninety-nine disappointed and, as they 
thought, deeply injured mothers made common cause and pronounced the suc- 
cessful little one the meanest, homeliest baby in the lot, and roundly abused me 
and my committee for our stupidity and partiality. "Very well, ladies," said I 
in the first instance, "select a committee of your own and I will give another 
$100 prize to the baby you shall pronounce to be the best specimen." This was 
only throwing oil upon flame ; the ninety-nine confederates were deadly enemies 
from the moment, and no new babies were presented in competition for the sec- 
ond prize. Thereafter, I took good care to send in a written report and did not 
attempt to announce the prize in person.* 

In June, 1843, a herd of yearling buffaloes was on exhibition in Boston. 1 
bought the lot, brought them to New Jersey, hired the race-course at Hoboken, 
chartered the ferry-boats for one day, and advertised that a hunter had arrived 
with a herd of buffaloes — I was careful not to state their age — and that August 
31st there would be a "Grand Buffalo Hunt" on the Hoboken race-course— all 
persons to be admitted free of charge. 

The appointed day was warm and delightful, and no less than twenty-four 
thousand people crossed the North River in the ferry-boats to enjoy the cooling 
breeze and to see the " Grand Buffalo Hunt." The hunter was dressed as an In- 
dian, and mounted on horseback ; he proceeded to show how the wild buffalo is 
captured with a lasso, but unfortunately the yearlings would not run till the 
crowd gave a great shout, expressive at once of derision and delight at the harm- 
less humbug. This shout started the young animals into a weak gallop and the 
lasso was duly thrown over the head of the largest calf. The crowd roared with 
laughter, listened to my balcony band, which I also furnished "free," and then 
started for New York, little dreaming who was the author of this sensation, or 
what was its object. 

Mr. N. P. Willis, then editor of the Home Journal, wrote an article illustrating 
the perfect good nature with which the American public submit to a clever hum 
bug. He said that he went to Hoboken to witness the buffalo hunt. It was 
nearly four o'clock when the boat left the foot of Barclay street, and it was so 
densely crowded that many persons were obliged to stand on the railings and 
hold on to the awning-posts. When they reached the Hoboken side a boat 
equally crowded was coming out of the slip. The passengers just arriving cried 
out to those who were coming away, "Is the buffalo hunt over?" To which 
came the reply, " Yes, and it was the biggest humbug you ever heard of 1 " Wil- 
lis added that passengers on the boat with him instantly gave three cheers for the 
author of the humbug, whoever he might be. 

• See Illustration, page 56 


After the public had enjoyed a laugh for several days over the Hoboken "Free 
Grand Buffalo Hunt," I permitted it to be announced that the proprietor of the 
American Museum was responsible for the joke, thus using the buffalo hunt as a 
sky-rocket to attract public attention to my Museum. The object was accom- 
plished, and although some people cried out " humbug/' I had added to the noto- 
riety which I so much wanted, and I was satisfied. As for the cry of "humbug," 
it never harmed me, and I was in the position of the actor who had much rather 
be roundly abused than not to be noticed at all. I ought to add, that the forty 
eight thousand sixpences — the usual fare — received for ferry fares, less what 1 
paid for the charter of the boats on that one day, more than remunerated me for 
the cost of the buffaloes and the expenses of the "hunt;" and the enormous 
gratuitous advertising of the Museum must also be placed to my credit. 

With the same object — that is, advertising my Museum, I purchased f«r $500, 
in Cincinnati, Ohio, a "Woolly Horse" I found on exhibition in that city. It 
was a well-formed, small-sized horse, with no mane, and not a particle of hair on 
his tail, while his entire body and legs were covered with thick, fine hair or wool, 
which curled tight to his skin. This horse was foaled in Indiana, and was a re- 
markable freak of nature, and certainly a very curious-looking animal. 

I had not the remotest idea, when I bought this horse, what I should do with 
him ; but when the news came that Colonel John C. Fremont (who was supposed 
to have been lost in the snows of the Rocky Mountains) was in safety, the 
"Woolly Horse" was exhibited in New York and was widely advertised as a 
most remarkable animal that had been captured by the great explorer's party in 
the passes of the Rocky Mountains. The exhibition met with only moderate suc- 
cess in New York, and in several Northern provincial towns, and the show would 
have fallen flat in Washington, had it not been for the over-zeal of Colonel 
Thomas H. Benton, then a United States Senator from Missouri. He went to the 
show, and then caused the arrest of my agent for obtaining twenty-five cents 
from him under "false pretences." No mention had been made of this curious 
animal in any letter he had received from his son-in-law, Colonel John C. Fre- 
mont, and therefore the Woolly Horse had not been captured by any of Fremont's 
party. The reasoning was hardly as sound as were most of the arguments of 
" Old Bullion," and the case was dismissed. After a few days of merriment, pub- 
he curiosity no longer turned in that direction, and the old horse was permitted 
to retire to private life. My object in the exhibition, however, was fully at- 
tained. When it was generally known that the proprietor of the American 
Museum was also the owner of the famous "Woolly Horse," it caused yet more 
talk about me and my establishment, and visitors began to say that they would 
give more to see the proprietor of the Museum than to view the entire collection 
of curiosities. As for my ruse in advertising the "Woolly Horse" as having 
been captured by Fremont's exploring party, of course the announcement neither 
added to nor took from the interest of the exhibition; but it arrested public at- 
tention, and it was the only feature of the show that I now care to forget. 

It will be seen that very much of the success which attended my many years 
proprietorship of the American Museum was due to advertising, and especially 
to my odd methods of advertising. Always determined to have curiosities worth 
showing and worth seeing, at "twenty-five cents admission, children half price," 
I studied ways to arrest public attention; to startle, to make people talk and 
wonder; in short, to let the world know that I had a Museum. 

About this time, I engaged a band of Indians from Iowa. They had never 
seen a railroad or steamboat until they saw them on the route from Iowa to New 


York. The party comprised large and noble specimens of the untutored savage, as 
well as several very beautiful squaws, with two or three interesting "papooses." 
They lived and lodged in a large room on the top floor of the Museum, and 
cooked their own victuals in their own way. They gave their war-dances on the 
stage in the Lecture Room with great vigor and enthusiasm, much to the satisfac- 
tion of the audiences. But these wild Indians seemed to consider their dances as 
realities. Hence, when they gave a real war dance, it was dangerous for any 
parties, except their manager and interpreter, to be on the stage, for the moment 
they had finished their war dance, they began to leap and peer about behind the 
scenes in search of victims for their tomahawks and scalping knives ! Indeed, 
lest in these frenzied moments they might make a dash at the orchestra or the 
audience, we had a high rope barrier placed between them and the savages on 
the front of the stage. 

After they had been a week in the Museum, I proposed a change of perform- 
ance for the week following, by introducing new dances. Among these was the 
Indian wedding dance. At that time I printed but one set of posters (large 
bills) per week, so that whatever was announced for Monday, was repeated every 
day and evening during that week. Before the wedding dance came off on 
Monday afternoon, I was informed that I was to provide a large new red woollen 
blanket, at a cost of ten dollars, for the bridegroom to present to the father of 
the bride. I ordered the purchase to be made ; but was considerably taken aback, 
when I was informed that I must have another new blanket for the evening, 
inasmuch as the savage old Indian Chief, father-in-law to the bridegroom, would 
not consent to his daughter's being approached with the wedding dance unless 
he had his blanket present. 

I undertook to explain to the chief, through the interpreter, that this was onlj 
a "make believe" wedding; but the old savage shrugged his shoulders, and gave 
such a terrific " Ugh ! " that I was glad to make my peace by ordering another 
blanket. As we gave two performances per day, I was out of pocket 8120 for 
twelve "wedding blankets," that week. 

One of the beautiful squaws named Do-humme died in the Museum. She had 
been a great favorite with many ladies, among whom I can especially name Mrs. 
C. M. Sawyer, wife of the Rev. Dr. T. J. Sawyer. Do-humme was buried on 
the border of Sylvan Water, at Greenwood Cemetery, where a small monument 
erected by her friends, designates her last resting-place. 

The poor Indians were very sorrowful for many days, and desired to get back 
again to their western wilds. The father and the betrothed of Do-humme cooked 
various dishes of food and placed them upon the roof of the Museum, where they 
believed the spirit of their departed friend came daily for its supply; and these 
dishes were renewed every morning during the stay of the Indians at the 

It was sometimes very amusing to hear the remarks of strangers who came to 
visit my Museum. One afternoon a prim maiden lady from Portland, Maine, 
walked into my private office, where I was busily engaged in writing, and, tak 
ing a seat on the sofa, she asked: 

" Is this Mr. Barnum ? " 

" It is," I replied. 

"Is this Mr. P. T. Barnum, the proprietor of the Museum ?" she asked. 

" The same," was my answer. 

"Why, really, Mr. Barnum," she continued, "vou look much like other com 
mon folks, after all." 


"Dear me ! Mr. Barnum," said she, "I never went to any Museum before, nor 
to adxj place of amusement or public entertainment, excepting our school exhibi- 
tions ; and I have sometimes felt that they even may be wicked, for some parts 
of the dialogues seemed frivolous; but I have heard so much of your 'moral 
drama,' and the great good you are doing for the rising generation that I thought 
I must come here and see for myself." 

At this moment the gong sounded to announce the opening of the Lecture 
Room, and the crowd passed on in haste to secure seats. My spinster visitor 
iprang to her feet and anxiously inquired: 

"Are the services about to commence ? " 

"Yes," I replied, "the congregation is now going up. w 



By some arrangement, the particulars of which I do not remember, if, indeed, 
I ever cared to know them, Mr. Peale was conducting Peale's Museum, which he 
claimed was a more "scientific" establishment than mine, and he pretended to 
appeal to a higher class of patrons. Mesmerism was one of his scientific attrac- 
tions, and he had a subject upon whom he operated at times with the greatest 
seeming success, and fairly astonished his audiences. But there were times when 
the subject was wholly unimpressible and then those who had paid their money 
to see the woman put into the mesmeric state cried out "humbug," and the repu- 
tation of the establishment seriously suffered. 

It devolved upon me to open a rival mesmeric performance, and accordingly 1 
engaged a bright little girl who was exceedingly susceptible to such mesmeric 
influences as I could induce. That is, she learned her lesson thoroughly, and 
when I had apparently put her to sleep with a few passes and stood behind hex, 
she seemed to be duly "impressed" as I desired; raised her hands as I willed, 
fell from her chair to the floor; and if I put candy or tobacco into my mouth, 
she was duly delighted or disgusted. She never failed in these routine perform- 
ances. Strange to say, believers in mesmerism used to witness her performances 
with the greatest pleasure and adduce them as positive proofs that there was 
something in mesmerism, and they applauded tremendously — up to a certain 

That point was reached when, leaving the girl "asleep," I called up some one 
in the audience, promising to put him "in the same state" within five minutes, 
or forfeit fifty dollars. Of course, all my "passes" would not put a man in the 
mesmeric state; at the end of three minutes he was as wide awake as ever. 

" Never mind," I would say, looking at my watch; " I have two minutes more, 
and meantime, to show that a person in this state is utterly insensible to pain, 1 
propose to cut off one of the fingers of the little girl who is still asleep." I would 
then take out my knife and feel of the edge, and when I turned around to the 
girl whom I left on the chair, she had fled behind the scenes, to the intense 
amusement of the greater part of the audience, and to the amazement of the 
mesmerists who were present. 

"Why! where's my little girl?" I asked with feigned astonishment. 

"Oh! she ran away when you began to talk about cutting off fingers." 

" Then she was wide awake, was she?" 

"Of course she was, all the time." 

"I suppose so; and, my dear sir, I promised that you should be 'in the saiue 
state ' at the end of five minutes, and as I believe you are so, I do not forfeit 
fifty dollars." 

I kept up this performance for several weeks, till I quite killed Peale's "gen- 
uine " mesmerism in the rival establishment. At the end of six months I bought 
Peale's Museum, and the whole, including the splendid gallery of American 
portraits, was removed to the American Museum, and I immediately advertised 



the great card of a "Double attraction " and "Two Museums in One," without 
extra charge. 

The Museum became a mania with me, and I made everything possible subser- 
vient to it. On the eve of elections, rival politicians would ask me for whom I 
was going to vote, and my answer invariably was, "I vote for the American 
Museum." In fact, at that time, I cared very little about politics, and a great 
deal about my business. Meanwhile the Museum prospered wonderfully, and 
everything I attempted or engaged in, seemed at the outset an assured success. 

The giants whom I exhibited from time to time, were always literally great 
features in my establishment, and they oftentimes afforded me, as well as my 
patrons, food for much amusement as well as wonder. The Quaker giant, Hales, 
was quite a wag in his way. He went once to see the new house of an acquaint- 
ance who had suddenly become rich, but who was a very ignorant man. When 
he came back he described the wonders of the mansion, and said that the proud 
proprietor showed him everything from basement to attic: parlors, bed-rooms, 
dining-room, and," said Hales, "what he calls his ' study '—meaning, I suppose, 
the place where he intends to study his spelling-book! " 

I had at one time two famous men, the French giant, M. Bihin, a very slim 
man, and the Arabian giant, Colonel Goshen. These men generally got on 
together very well, though, of course, each was jealous of the other, and of the 
attention the rival received, or the notice he attracted. One day they quarreled, 
and a lively interchange of conmliments ensued, the Arabian calling the French- 
man a "Shanghai," and received in return the epithet of "Nigger." From 
words both were eager to proceed to blows, and both ran to my collection of 
arms, one seizing the club with which Captain Cook, or any ether man, might 
have been killed, if it were judiciously wielded, and the other laying hands on a 
sword of the terrific size, which is supposed to have been conventional in the days 
of the Crusades. The preparations for a deadly encounter, and the high words of 
the contending parties, brought a dozen of the Museum attaclies to the spot, and 
these men threw themselves between the gigantic combatants. Hearing the 
disturbance, I ran from my private office to the dueling ground, and said: 

"Look here! This is all right; if you want to fight each other, maiming and 
perhaps killing one or both of you, that is your affair; but my interest lies here: 
you are both under engagement to me, and if this duel is to come off, I and the 
public have a right to participate. It must be duly advertised, and must take 
place on the stage of the Lecture Room. No performance of yours would be a 
greater attraction, and if you kill each other, our engagement can end with your 

This proposition, made in apparent earnest, so delighted the giants that they at 
once burst into a laugh, shook hands, and quarreled no more. 

In November, 1842, I was at Bridgeport, Connecticut, where I heard of a 
remarkably small child, and, at my request, my brother, Philo F. Barnuni, 
brought him to the hotel. He was not two feet high; he weighed less than six- 
teen pounds, and was the smallest child I ever saw that could walk alone; he 
was a perfectly formed, bright-eyed little fellow, with fight hair and ruddy 
cheeks, and he enjoyed the best of health. He was exceedingly bashful, but 
after some coaxing, he was induced to talk with me, and he told me that he was 
the son of Sherwood E. Stratton, and that his own name was Charles S. Strattom 
After seeing him and talking with him, I at once determined to secure his ser- 
vices from his parents and to exhibit him in public. 


I engaged him for four weeks, at three dollars a week, with all traveling and 
boarding charges for himself and his mother at my expense. They came to 
New York Thanksgiving day, December 8, 1842, and I announced the dwarf on 
my Museum bills as " General Tom Thumb." 

I took the greatest pains to educate and train my (iiminutive prodigy, devoting 
many hours to the task by day and by night, and I was very successful, Cor he 
was an apt pupil, with a great deal of native talent, and a keen sense of the 

I afterwards re-engaged him for one year, at seven dollars a week, with a 
gratuity of fifty dollars at the end of the engagement, and the privilege of exhib- 
iting him anywhere in the United States, in which event his parents were to 
accompany him and I was to pay all traveling expenses. He speedily became a 
public favorite, and long before the year was out, I voluntarily increased his 
weekly salary to twenty-five dollars, and he f airly earned it. 

Two years had now elapsed since I bought the Museum, and I had long since 
paid for the entire establishment from the profits; I had bought out my only 
rival; I was free from debt, and had a handsome surplus in the treasury. The 
business had long ceased to be an experiment; it was an established success, and 
was in such perfect running order, that it could safely be committed to the man- 
agement of trustworthy and tried agents. 

Accordingly, looking for a new field for my individual efforts, I entered into 
an agreement for General Tom Thumb's services for another year, at fifty dollars 
a week and all expenses, with the privilege of exhibiting him in Europe. I pro- 
posed to test the curiosity of men and women on the other side of the Atlantic. 

After arranging my business affairs for a long absence, and making every 
preparation for an extended foreign tour, on Thursday, January 18, 1844, I went 
on board the new and fine sailing ship "Yorkshire," Captain D. G. Bailey, bound 
for Liverpool. Our party included General Tom Thumb, his parents, his tutor, 
and Professor Guillaudeu, the French naturalist. We were accompanied by 
several personal friends, and the City Brass Band kindly volunteered to escort us 
to Sandy Hook. 

A voyage to Liverpool is now an old, familiar story, and I abstain from enter- 
ing into details, though I have abundant material respecting my own experiences 
of my first sea- voyage in the first two of a series of one hundred letters which I 
wrote in Europe, as correspondent of the New York Atlas. 

On our arrival at Liverpool, quite a crowd had assembled at the dock to see 
Tom Thumb, for it had been previously announced that he would arrive in the 
" Yorkshire," but his mother managed to smuggle him ashore unnoticed, for she 
carried him, as if he was an infant, in her arms. 

My letters of introduction speedily brought me into friendly relations with 
many excellent families, and I was induced to hire a hall and present the General 
to the public, for a short season in Liverpool. I had intended to proceed directly 
to London, and begin operations at "headquarters," that is, in Buckingham 
Palace, if possible; but I had been advised that the royal family was in mourn 
ing for the death of Prince Albert's father, and would not permit the approacl 
of any entertainments. 

Meanwhile, confidential letters from London, informed me that Mr. Maddox, 
Manager of Princess's Theater, was coming down to witness my exhibition, with 
a view to making an engagement. He came privately, but I was fully informed 

* See Illustration, opposite. 


as to his presence and object. A friend pointed him out to me hi the hall, and 
when I stepped up to him, and called him by name, he was "taken all aback," 
and avowed his purpose in visiting Liverpool. An interview resulted in an 
engagement of the General for three nights at Princess's Theater. I was unwill- 
ing to contract for a longer period, and even this short engagement, though on 
liberal terms, was acceded to only as a means of advertisement. So soon, there- 
fore, as I could bring my short, but highly successful season in Liverpool to t 
close, wj went to London. 



Immediately after our arrival in London, the General came out at the Prin- 
cess's Theater, and made so decided a " hit " that it was difficult to decide" who was 
best pleased, the spectators, the manager, or myself. I was offered far higher 
terms for a re-engagement, but my purpose had been already answered; the 
news was spread everywhere that General Tom Thumb, an unparalleled curiosity, 
was in the city; and it only remained for me to bring him before the public, on 
my own account, and in my own time and way. 

I took a furnished mansion in Grafton street, Bond street, West End, in the 
very center of the most fashionable locality. The house had previously beei 
occupied for several years by Lord Talbot, and Lord Brougham and half a dozen 
families of the aristocracy and many of the gentry were my neighbors. From 
this magnificent mansion, I sent letters of invitation to the editors and several of 
the nobility, to visit the General. Most of them called, and were highly gratified. 
The word of approval was indeed so passed around in high circles, that uninvited 
parties drove to my door in crested carriages, and were not admitted. 

This procedure, though in some measure a stroke of policy, was neither singular 
nor hazardous, under the circumstances. I had not yet announced a public exhi- 
bition, and as a private American gentleman, it became me to maintain the dignity 
of my position. I therefore instructed my liveried servant to deny admission to 
see my "ward," excepting to persons who brought cards of invitation. He did 
it in a proper manner, and no offence could be taKen, though I was always partic- 
ular to send an invitation immediately to such as had not been admitted. 

During our first week in London, the Hon Edward Everett, the American 
Minister, to whom I had letters of introduction, called and was highly pleased 
with his diminutive though renowned countryman. We dined with him the next 
day, by invitation, and his family loaded the young American with presents. 
Mr. Everett kindly promised to use influence at the Palace in person, with a 
view to having Tom Thumb introduced to Her Majesty Queen Victoria. 

A few evenings afterwards the Baroness Rothschild sent her carriage for us. 
We were received by a half a dozen servants, and were ushered up a broad flight 
of marble stairs to the drawing-room, where we met the Baroness and a party of 
twenty or more ladies and gentlemen In this sumptous mansion of the richest 
banker in the world, we spent about two hours, and when we took our leave a 
well-filled purse was quietly slipped into my hand. The golden shower had begun 
to fail. 

I now engaged the "Egyptian Hall," in Piccadilly, and the announcement of 
my unique exhibition was promptly answered by a rush of visitois, in which the 
wealth and fashion of London were liberally represented. I made these arrange- 
ments because I had little hope of being soon brought to the Queen's presence 
(for the reason before mentioned), but Mr. Everett's generous influence secured 
my object. I breakfasted at his house one morning, by invitation, in company 
with Mr. Charles Murray, an author of creditable repute, who held the office of 



Master of the Queen's Household- In the course of conversation, Mr. Murray 
inquired as to my plans, and I informed him that I intended going to the Conti- 
nent shortly, though I should be glad to remain if the General could haw an 
interview with the Queen, adding that such an event would be of great consequence 
to me. 

Mr. Murray kindly offered his good offices in the case, and the next day one of 
the Life Guards, a tall, noble-looking fellow, bedecked as became Jiis station, 
brought me a note, conveying the Queen's invitation to General Tom Thumb aud 
his guardian, Mr. Barnum, to appear at Buckingham Palace on an evening speci- 
fied. Special instructions were the same day orally given me by Mr. Murraj', by 
Her Majesty's co mm a n d, to suffer the General to appeal- before her, as he would 
appear anywhere else, without any training in the use of the titles of royalty, as 
the Queen desired to see him act naturally and without restraint. 

Determined to make the most of the occasion, I put a placard on the door of 
the Egyptian Hall: " Closed this evening, General Tom Thumb being at Bucking- 
ham Palace by command of Her Majesty." 

On arriving at the Palace, the Lord in Waiting put me " under drill " as to the 
manner and form in which I should conduct myself in the presence of royalty. 
I was to answer all questions by Her Majesty through him, and, in no event, to 
speak directly to the Queen. In leaving the royal presence I was to "back out," 
keeping my face always towards Her Majesty, and the illustrious lord, kindly 
gave me a specimen of that sort of backward locomotion. How far I profited by 
his instructions and example, will presently appeal*. 

We were conducted through a long corridor to a broad flight of marble steps, 
which led to the Queen's magnificent picture gallery, where Her Majesty and 
Prince Albert, the Duchess of Kent. I Y, . . ad others were 

awaiting our arrival They were standing at the farther end of the room when 
the doors were thrown open, and the General walked in, looking like a wax doll 
gifted with the power of locomotion. Surprise and pleasure were depicted on 
the countenances of the royal circle at beholding this remarkable speeimen of 
humanity so much smaller than they had evidently expected to find him . 

The General advanced with a firm step, and, as he came within hailing dis- 
tance, made a very graceful bow, and exclaimed, "Good evening, ladies and 
gentlemen ! " 

A burst of laughter followed this salutation. The Queen then took him by the 
hand, led him about the gallery, and asked him many questions, the answers to 
which kept the party in an uninterrupted strain of merriment. The General 
familiarly informed the Queen that her picture gallery was "first-rate," and told 
her he should like to see the Prince of Wales. The Queen replied that the Prince 
had retired to rest, but that he should see him on some future occasion. The 
General then gave his songs, dances, and imitations, and, after a conversation 
with Prince Albert and ail present, which continued for more than an hour, we 
were permitted to depart. 

Before describing the process and incidents of " backing out," I must acknowl- 
edge how sadly I broke through the coimsel of the Lord in Waiting. While 
Prince Albert and others were engaged with the General, the Queen was gather- 
ing information from me in regard to his history, etc. Two or three questions 
were put and answered through the process indicated in my drill. It was a 
round-about way of doing business, not at all to my liking, and I suppose the 
Lord in waiting was seriously shocked, if not outraged, when I entered directly 
into conversation with Her Majesty. She, however, seemed not disposed to check 


my boldness, f or she immediately spoke directly to me in obtaining the informa- 
tion which she sought. I felt entirely at ease in her presence, and could not avoid 
contrasting her sensible and amiable manners with the stiffness and formality of 
upstart gentility at home or abroad. 

The Queen was modestly attired in plain black, and wore no ornaments. Indeed, 
surrounded as she was by ladies arrayed in the highest style of magnificence, 
their dresses^ sparkling with diamonds, she was the last person whom a stranger 
would have pointed out in that circle as the Queen of England. 

The Lord in waiting was perhaps mollified toward me when he saw me f oliow- 
ing his illustrious example in retiring from the royal presence. He was accustomed 
to the process, and therefore was able to keep somewhat ahead (or rather aback) 
of me, but even / stepped rather fast for the other member of the retiring party. 
We had a considerable distance to travel in that long gallery before reaching the 
door, and whenever the General found he was losing ground, he turned around 
and ran a few steps, then resumed the position of "backing out," then turned 
around and ran, and so continued to alternate his methods of getting to the door, 
until the gallery fairly rang with the merriment of the royal spectators. It was 
really one of the richest scenes I ever saw; running, under the circumstances, was 
an offence sufficiently heinous to excite the indignation of the Queen's favorite 
poodle dog, and he vented his displeasure by barking so sharply as to startle the 
General from his propriety. He, however, recovered immediately, and, with his 
little cane, commenced an attack on the poodle, and a funny fight ensued, which 
renewed and increased the merriment of the royal party.* 

This was near the door of exit. TVe had scarcely passed into the ante-room, 
when one of the Queen's attendants came to us with the expressed hope of Her 
Majesty that the General had sustained no damage; to which the Lord in Wait- 
ing playfully added, that in case of injury to so renowned a personage, he should 
fear a declaration of war by the United States ! 

The courtesies of the Palace were not yet exhausted, for we were escorted to 
an apartment in which refreshments had been provided for us. I was anxious 
that the "Court Journal" of the ensuing day should contain more than a 
mere line in relation to the General's interview with the Queen, and, on 
inquiry, I learned that the gentleman who had charge of that feature in the daily 
papers was then in the Palace. He was sent for by my solicitation, and promptly 
acceded to my request for such a notice as would attract attention. He even 
generously desired me to give him an outline of what I sought, and I was pleased 
to see afterwards, that he had inserted my notice verbatim. 

This notice of my visit to the Queen wonderfully increased the attraction of 
" Gen. Tom Thumb," and compelled me to obtain a more commodious hall for my 
exhibition. I accordingly removed to the larger room in the same building. 

On our second visit to the Queen, we were received in what is called the 
"Yellow Dra wing-Room," a magnificent apartment, surpassing in splendor and 
gorgeousness anything of the kind I had ever seen. It is on the north side of the 
gallery, and is entered from that apartment. It was hung with drapery of rich 
yellow satin damask, the couches, sofas and chairs being covered with the same 
material. The vases, urns and ornaments were all of modern patterns, and the 
most exquisite workmanship. The room was panelled in gold, and the heavy 
cornices beautifully carved and gilt. The tables, pianos, etc., were mounted 
with gold, inlaid with pearl of various hues, and of the most elegant designs. 

* See Illustration, opposite. 


We were ushered into this gorgeous drawing-room before the Queen and royal 
eircle had left the dining-room, and, as they approached, the General bowed 
respectfully, and remarked to Her Majesty " that he had seen her before," adding, 
"I think this is a prettier room than the picture gallery; that chandelier is very 

The Queen smilingly took him by the hand, and said she hoped he was very 

"Yes, ma'am," he replied, " I am first rate." 

"General," continued the Queen, "this is the Prince of Wales." 

" How are you, Prince?" said the General, shaking him by the hand; and then 
standing beside the Prince, he remarked, "the Prince is taller than I am, but I 
feel as big as anybody," upon which he strutted up and down the room as proud 
as a peacock, amid shouts of laughter from all present. 

The Queen then introduced the Princess Royal, and the General immediately 
led her to his elegant little sofa, which we took with us, and with much politeness 
sat himself down beside her. Then, rising from his seat, he went through his 
various performances, and the Queen handed him an elegant and costly souvenir, 
which had been expressly made for him by her order, for which, he told her, 
" he was very much obliged, and would keep it as long as he lived." The Queen 
of the Belgians (daughter of Louis Philippe) was present on this occasion. She 
asked the General where he was going when he left London? 

" To Paris," he replied. 

" "Whom do you expect to see there ?" she continued. 

Of course all expected he would answer, "the King of the French," but the 
little fellow replied, 

" Monsieur Guillaudeu." 

The two Queens looked inquiringly to me, and when I informed them that M. 
Gillaudeu was my French naturalist, who had preceded me to Paris, they laughed 
most heartily. 

On our third visit to Buckingham Palace, Leopold, King of the Belgians, was 
also present. He was highly pleased, and asked a multitude of questions. Queen 
Victoria desired the General to sing a song, and asked him what song he preferred 
to sing. 

"Yankee Doodle," was the prompt reply. 

This answer was as unexpected to me as it was to the royal party. When the 
meiTiment it occasioned had somewhat subsided, the Queen good-humoredly 
remarked, ' ' That is a very pretty song, General, sing it, if you please. " The General 
complied, and soon afterwards we retired. I ought to add, that after each of our 
tliree visits to Buckingham Palace, a very handsome sum was sent to me, of 
course by the Queen's command. This, however, was the smallest part of the 
advantage derived from these interviews, as will be at once apparent to all who 
consider the force of Court example in England. 

The British public were now fairly excited. Not to have seen General Tom 
Thumb was decidedly unfashionable, and from March 30th until July 20th, the 
levees of the little General, at Egyptian Hall, were continually crowded, the 
receipts averaging during the whole period about five hundred dollars per day, 
and sometimes going considerably beyond that sum. At the fashionable hour, 
sixty carriages of the nobility have been counted at one time standing in front 
of our exhibition rooms in Piccadilly. 

Portraits of the little General were published in all the pictorial papers of the 
time. Polkas and quadrilles were named after him, and songs were sung in hi? 


praise. He was an almost constant theme for the London Punch, which served 
up the General and myself so daintily that it no doubt added vastly to our 

Besides his three public performances per day, the little General attended three 
or four private parties per week, for which we were paid eight to ten guineas each. 
Frequently we would visit two parties in the same evening, and the demand in 
that line was much greater than the supply. The Queen Dowager Adelaide 
requested the General's attendance at Marlborough House one afternoon. He 
went in his court dress, consisting of a richly embroidered brown silk- velvet coat 
and short breeches, white satin vest with fancy colored embroidery, white silk 
stockings and pumps, wig, bagwig, cocked hat, and a dress sword. 

"Why, General," said the Queen Dowager, "I think you look very smart 

"I guess I do," said the General complacently. 

A large party of the nobility were present. The old DuKe of Cambridge 
offered the little General a pinch of snuff, which he declined. The General sang 
his songs, performed his dances, and cracked his jokes, to the great amusement 
and delight of the distinguished circle of visitors. 

"Dear little General," said the kind-hearted Queen, taking him upon her lap, 
" I see you have got no watch. Will you permit me to present you with a watch 
and chain?" 

" I would like them very much," replied the General, his eyes glistening with 
joy as he spoke. 

"I will have them made expressly for you," responded the Queen Dowager; 
and at the same moment she called a friend and desired him to see that the 
proper order was executed. A few weeks thereafter we were called again to 
Marlborough House. A number of the children of the nobility were present, as 
well as some of their parents. After passing a few compliments with the 
General, Queen Adelaide presented him with a beautiful little gold watch, placing 
the chain around his neck with her own hands. 

After giving his performances, we withdrew from the royal presence, and the 
elegant little watch presented by the hands of Her Majesty the Queen Dowager 
was not only duly heralded, but was also placed upon a pedestal in the hall of 
exhibition, together with the presents from Queen Victoria, and covered with a 
glass vase. These presents, to which were soon added an elegant gold snuff-box 
mounted with turquois, presented by bis Grace the Duke of Devonshire, and 
many other costly gifts of the nobility and gentry, added to the attractions of 
the exhibition. The Duke of Wellington called frequently to see the little General 
at his public levees. The first time he called, the General was personating Napo- 
leon Bonaparte, marching up and down the platform, and apparently taking 
snuff in deep meditation. He was dressed in the well-known uniform of the 
Emperor. I introduced him to the " Iron Duke," who inquired the subject of his 
meditations. "I was thinking of the loss of the battle of Waterloo," was the 
little General's immediate reply. This display of wit was chronicled throughout 
the country, and was of itself worth thousands of pounds to the exhibition.* 

General Tom Thumb had visited the King of Saxony and also Ibrahim Pacha 
who was then in London. At the different parties we attended, we met, in the 
course of the season, nearly all of the nobility. Scarcely a nobleman in England 
failed to see General Tom Thumb at bis own house, at the house of a friend, or at 

* See Illustration page 168. 


the public levees at Egyptian HalL The General was a decided pet with some of 
the first personages in the land, among whom may be mentioned Sir Robert and 
Lady PeeL the Duke and Duchess of Buckingham, Duke of Bedford, Duke of 
Devonshire, Count d'Orsay, Lady Blessington, Daniel O'Connell, Lord Adolphus 
Fitzclarence, Lord Chesterfield. Mr. and Mrs. Joshua Bates, of the firm of Baring 
Brothers & Co. , and many other persons of distinction. We ha< 1 1 he tree entree to 
all the theaters, public gardens, and places of entertainment, and frequently met 
the principal artists, editors, poets, and authors of the country. Albert Smith 
wrote a play for the General entitled " Hop o' my Thumb," which was presented 
with great success at the Lyceum Theater, London, and in several of the provin- 
cial theaters. Our visit in London and tour through the provinces were enor- 
mously successful, and after a brilliant season in Great Britain I made preparations 
to take the General to Paris. 



Before taking the little General and party to Paris, I went over alone to 
arrange the preliminaries for our campaign in that city. 

I was very fortunate in making the acquaintance of Mr. Dion Boueieault, who 
was then temporarily sojourning in that city, and who at once kindly volunteered 
to advise and assist me in regard to numerous matters of importance relating to 
the approaching visit of the General. He spent a day with me in the search for 
suitable accommodations for my company, and by giving me the benefit of his 
experience, he saved me much trouble and expense. I have never forgotten the 
courtesy extended to me by this gentleman. 

I hired, at a large rent, the Salle Musard, Ruq Vivienne. I made the most 
complete arrangements, even to starting the preliminary paragraphs in the Paris 
papers; and after calhng on the Honorable William Rufus King, the United 
States Minister at the Court of France, who assured me that, after my success 
in London, there would be no difficulty whatever in my presentation to King 
Louis Philippe, I returned to England. 

I went back to Paris with General Tom Thumb and party some time before 1 
intended to begin my exhibitions, and on the very day after my arrival I received 
a special command to appear at the Tuileries on the following Sunday evening. 

At the appointed hour the General and I, arrayed in the conventional court 
costume, were ushered into a grand saloon of the palace, where we were intro- 
duced to the King, the Queen, Princess Adelaide, the Duchess d'Orleans and her 
son, the Count de Paris, Prince de Joinville, Duke and Duchess de Nemours, the 
Duchess d'Aumale, and a dozen or more distinguished persons, among whom was 
the editor of the official Journal des Debats. General Tom Thumb went through 
his various performances to the manifest pleasure of all who were present, and at 
the close the King presented to him a large emerald brooch set with diamonds. 
The General expressed his gratitude, and the King, turning to me, said: "You 
may put it on the General, if you please," which I did, to the evident gratifica- 
tion of the King as well as the General. 

King Louis Phfiippe was so condescending and courteous, that I felt quite at 
home in the royal presence, and ventured upon a bit of diplomacy. The Long- 
champs celebration was coming — a day once devoted to religious ceremony, but 
now conspicuous for the display of court and fashionable equipages in the Champs 
Elysees and the Bois des Boulogne, and, as the King was familiarly conversing 
with me, I ventured to say that I had hurried over to Paris to take part in the 
Longchanips display, and I asked him if the General's carriage could not be per- 
mitted to appear in the avenue reserved for the court and the diplomatic corps, 
representing that the General's small, but elegant establishment, with its ponies 
and little coachman and footman, would be in danger of damage in the general 
throng, unless the special privilege I asked was accorded. 

The King smilingly turned to one of the officers of his household, and, after 
conversing with him for a few moments, he said to me : 



" Call on the Prefect of Police to-morrow afternoon, and you will find a permit 
ready for you.'' 

Our visit occupied two hours, and when we went away the General was loaded 
with fine presents. The next morning all the newspapers noticed the visit, and 
the Journal des Debuts, gave a minute account of the interview and of the Gen* 
eral's performances, taking occasion to say, in speaking of the character parts, 
that ''there was one costume which the General wisely kept at the bottom of 
his box." That costume, however — the uniform of Bonaparte — was once exhib- 
ited, by particular request, as will be seen anon. 

Longchamps day arrived, and among the many splendid equipages on the grand 
avenue, none attracted more attention than the superb little carriage with four 
ponies and liveried and powdered coachman and footman, belonging to the Gen- 
eral, and conspicuous in the line of carriages containing the Ambassadors to 
the Court of France. Thousands upon thousands rent the air with cheers for 
"General Tom Pouce."* 

Thus, before I opened the exhibition, all Paris knew that General Tom Thumb 
was in the city. The elite of the city came to the exhibition; the first day's 
receipts were 5,500 francs, which would have been doubled if I could have made 
room for more patrons. There were afternoon and evening performances, and 
from that day secured seats, at an extra price, were engaged in advance for the 
entire two months. The season was more than a success; it was a triumph. 

It seemed, too. as if the whole city was advertising me. The papers were 
profuse in their praises of the General and his performances. Figaro, the Punch 
of Paris, gave a picture of an immense mastiff running away with the General's 
carriage and horses in his mouth. Statuettes of ''Tom Pouce" appeared in all 
the windows, in plaster, Parian, sugar and chocolate ; songs were written about 
him, and his lithograph was seen everywhere. A fine cafe on one of the boule- 
vards, took the name of "Tom Pouce. " and displayed over the door a life-size 
statue of the General. In Paris, as in London, several eminent painters expressed . 
their desire to paint his portrait, but the General's engagements were so pressing 
that he found little time to sit to artists. All the leading actors and actresses 
came to the General's levees, and petted him and made him many presents. 
Meanwhile, the daily receipts continued to swell, and I was compelled to take a 
cab to carry my bag of silver home at night. 

We were commanded to appear twice more at the Tuileries, and we were also 
invited to the palace on the King's birthday, to witness the display of fireworks 
in honor of the anniversary. Our fourth and last visit to the royal family was, by 
special invitation, at St. Cloud. On this one occasion, and by the special request 
of the King, the General personated Napoleon Bonaparte in full costume. Louis 
Philippe had heard of the General in this character, and particularly desired to 
see him; but the affair was quite "on the sly," and no mention was made of it in 
the papers. We remained an horn-, and, at parting, each of the royal company 
gave the General a splendid present, almost smothered him -with kisses, wished 
h im a safe journey through France, and a long and happy life. After bidding 
them adieu, we retired to another portion of the palace to make a change of the 
General's costume, and to partake of some refreshments which were prepared for 
us. Half an hour afterwards, as we were about leaving the palace, we went 
through a hall leading to the front door, and in doing so, passed the sitting- room 
in which the royal family were spending the evening. The door was open, and 

See Illustration, opposite. 


some of them happening to espy the General, called out for him to come in 
and shake hands with them once more. We entered the apartment, and there 
found the ladies sitting around a square table, each provided with two candles, and 
every one of them, including the Queen, was engaged in working at embroidery, 
*vhile a young lady was reading aloud for their edification. I am sorry to say, I 
believe this is a sight seldom seen in families of the aristocracy on either side of 
the water. At the church fairs in Paris, I had frequently seen pieces of embroi 
dery for sale, which were labelled as having been presented and worked by the 
Duchess d'Orleans, Princess Adelaide, Duchess de Nemours, and other titled 

During my stay in Paris, a Russian Prince, who had been living in great 
splendor in that city, suddenly died, and his household and personal effects were 
sold at auction. I attended the sale for several days in succession, buying many 
articles of vertu, and, among others, a magnificent gold tea-set, and a silver din- 
ing-service, and many rare specimens of Sevres china. These articles bore the 
initials of the family name of the Prince, and his own, "P. T." thus damaging 
the articles, so that the silver and gold were sold for their weight value only. I 
bought them, and adding " B." to the "P. T.," had a very fine table service, still 
in my possession, and bearing my own initials, "P. T. B." 

After a protracted and most profitable season we started on a tour through 
France. We went first to Rouen, and from thence to Toulon, visiting all the 
intermediate towns, including Orleans, Nantes, Brest, Bordeaux, where I wit- 
nessed a review by the Dukes de Nemours and d'Aumale, of 20,000 soldiers who 
were encamped near the city. From Bordeaux we went to Toulouse, Montpellier, 
Nismes, Marseilles, and many other less important places, holding levees for a 
longer or shorter time. While at Nantes, Bordeaux and Marseilles, tho General 
also appeared in the theaters in his French part of "Petit Poucet," a French play 
written expressly for him in Paris, and performed with great eclat in the theater 
Vaudeville in that city. 



In crossing the border from France into Belgium, Professor Pinte, our inter- 
preter and General Tom Thumb's preceptor, discovered that he had left his pass- 
port behind him — at Lille, at Marseilles, or elsewhere in France, he could not tell 
where, for it was a long time since he had been called upon to present it. 

When we came to Courtrai on the Belgian frontier, I managed to procure a 
permit for him which enabled him to proceed with the party. 

Brussels is Paris' in miniature and is one of the most charming cities I ever 
visited. We found elegant quarters, and the day after our arrival by command 
we visited King Leopold and the Queen at their palace. The King and Queen 
had already seen the General in London, but they wished to present him to their 
children and to the distinguished persons whom we found assembled. After a 
most agreeable hour we came away, the General, as usual, receiving many fine 

The following day I opened the exhibition in a beautiful halL which on that 
day and on every afternoon and evening while we remained there, was crowded 
by throngs of the first people in the city. On the second or third day, in the 
midst of the exhibition, I suddenly missed the case containing the valuable pres- 
ents the General had received from kings, queens, noblemen and gentlemen, and 
instantly gave the alarm; some thief had intruded for the express purpose of 
stealing these jewels, and, in the crowd, had been entirely successful in his 

The police were notified, and I offered 2,000 francs reward for the recovery of 
the property. A day or two afterwards a man went into a jeweller's shop and 
offered for sale, among other things, a gold snuff-box, mounted with turquoises, 
and presented by the Duke of Devonshire to the General. The jeweller, seeing 
the General's initials on the box, sharply questioned the man, who became 
alarmed and ran out of the shop. An alarm was raised, and the man was caught 
He made a clean breast of it, and in the course of a few hours the entire property 
was returned, to the great delight of the General and myself. Wherever we ex- 
hibited afterwards, no matter how respectable the audience, the case of presents 
was always carefully watched. 

While I was in Brussels I could do no less than visit the battle-field of Waterloo, 
and I proposed that our party should be composed of Professor Pinte, Mr. Strat- 
ton, father of General Tom Thumb, Mr. II. G. Sherman and myself. 

We engaged a coach and horses the night previous, and started punctually at 
the hour appointed. We stopped at the neat little church in the village of Wa- 
terloo, for the purpose of examining the tablets erected to the memory of some 
of the English who fell in the contest. Thence we passed to the house in which 
the leg of Lord Uxbridge (Marquis of Anglesey) was amputated. A neat little 
monument in the garden designates the spot where the shattered member had 
been interred. In the house is shown a part of the boot which is said to have 
once covered the unlucky leg' T expressed a desire to have a small piece of the 



boot to exhibit in my Museum; the lady cut off, without hesitation, a slip three 
inches long by one in width. I could not help thinking that if the lady was thus 
liberal in dispensing pieces of the " identical boot " to all visitors, this must have 
been about the ninety-nine thousandth boot that had been cut as the "Simon 
pure " since 1815. 

Arriving at Mont Saint Jean, a quarter of a mile from the ground, we were 
beset by some eighteen or twenty persons, who offered their services as guides, 
to indicate the most important localities. Each applicant professed to know the 
exact spot where every man had been placed who had taken part in the battle, 
and each, of course, claimed to have been engaged in that sanguinary contest, 
although it had occurred thirty years before, and some of these fellows were 
only, it seemed, from twenty-five to twenty-eight years of age ! We accepted 
an old man, who, at first declared that he was killed in the battle, but, perceiving 
our looks of increduhty, consented to modify his statement so far as to assert 
that he was horribly wounded, and lay upon the ground three days before receiv- 
ing assistance. 

Once upon the ground, our guide, with much gravity, pointed out the place 
where the Duke of Wellington took his station during a great part of the action; 
the locality where the reserve of the British army was stationed; the spot where 
Napoleon placed his favorite guard; the little mound on which was erected a tem- 
porary observatory for his use during the battle ; the portion of the field at which 
Blucher entered with the Prussian ai'my; the precise location of the Scotch 
Greys; the spot where fell Sir Alexander Gordon, Lieut. Col. Canning, and many 
others of celebrity. I asked him if he could tell me where Captain Tippitiwichet, 
of the Connecticut Fusileers, was killed. " Oui, Monsieur," he replied, with per- 
fect confidence, for he felt bound to know, or to pretend to know, every particu- 
lar. He then proceeded to point out exactly the spot where my unfortunate 
Comiecticut friend had breathed his last. After indicating the locations where 
some twenty more fictitious friends from Coney Island, New Jersey, Cape Cod and 
Saratoga Springs, had given up the ghost, we handed him his commission and 
declined to give him further trouble. 

Upon quitting the battle-field we were accosted by a dozen persons of both sexes 
with baskets on their arms or bags in their hands, containing relics of the battle 
for sale. These consisted of a great variety of implements of war, pistols, bul- 
lets, etc., besides brass French eagles, buttons, etc. I purchased a number of them 
for the Museum, and Stratton was equally liberal in obta i ning a supply for his 
friends in " Old Bridgeport." We also purchased maps of the battle-ground, pic 
tures of the triumphal mound surmounted by the colossal Belgic Lion in bronze, 
etc., etc. These frequent and renewed taxations annoyed Stratton very much, 
and, as he handed out a five franc piece for a "complete guide-book," he remarked, 
Chat "he guessed the battle of Waterloo had cost a darned sight more since it 
was fought than it did before ! " 

But his misfortunes did not terminate here. When we had proceeded four or 
rive miles upon our road home, crash went the carriage. We alighted, and found 
that the axle-tree was broken. It was now a quarter past one o'clock. The little 
General's exhibition was advertised to commence in Brussels at two o'clock, and 
could not take place without us. We were unable to walk the distance in double 
the time at our disposal, and, as no carriage was to be got in that part of the 
country, I concluded to take the matter easy, and forego all idea of exhibiting 
before evening. Stratton, however, could not bear the thought of losing the 
chance of taking in six or eight hundred francs, and he determined to take mat- 


ters in hand, in order, if possible, to get our party into Brussels in time to save 
the afternoon exhibition. He hastened to a farm-house, accompanied by the in- 
terpreter, Professor Pinte, Sherman and myself leisurely bringing up the rear. 
Stratton asked the old farmer if he had a carriage. He had not. " Have you no 
vehicle ? " he inquired. 

"Yes, I have that vehicle," he replied, pointing to an old cart filled with manure, 
and standing in his barnyard.* 

"Thunder ! is that all the conveyance you have got ?" asked Stratton, Being 
assured that it was, Stratton concluded that it was better to ride in a manure-cart 
than not to get to Brussels in time. 

' ' "What will you ask to drive us to Brussels in three-quarters of an hour ? " de- 
manded Stratton. 

" It is impossible," replied the fanner; "I should want two hours for my horse 
to do it in." 

" But ours is a very pressing case, and if we are not there in time we lose more 
than five hundred francs," said Stratton. 

The old farmer pricked up his ears at this, and agreed to get us to Brussels in an 

hour, for eighty francs. Stratton tried to beat him down, but it was of no use. 

" Oh, go it, Stratton," said Sherman; " eighty francs you know is only sixteen 

dollars, and you will probably save a hundred by it, for I expect a full house at 

our afternoon exhibition to-day." 

"But I have already spent about ten dollars for nonsense," said Stratton, " and 
we shall have to pay for the broken carriage besides." 
"But what can you do better?" chimed in Professor Pinte. 
"It is an outrageous extortion to charge sixteen dollars for an old horse and 
cart to go ten miles. Why, in old Bridgeport I could get it done for three dollars, " 
replied Stratton, in a tone of vexation 

"It is the custom of the country," said Professor Pin:e, "and we must submit 
to it." 

"Well, it's a thundering mean custom, any how," said Stratton, "and I won't 
stand such imposition." 

"But what shall we do?" earnestly inquired Mi*. Pinte. "It maybe a high 
price, but it is better to pay that than to lose our afternoon performance and five 
or six hundred francs." 

This appeal to the pocket touched Stratton's feelings ; so, submitting to the extor- 
tion, he replied to our interpreter, "Well tell the old robber to dump his dung- 
cart as soon as possible, or we shall lose half an hour in starting." 

The cart was "dumped" and a large, lazy-looking Flemish horse was attached 
to it with a rope harness. Some boards were laid across the cart for seats, the 
party tumbled into the rustic vehicle, a red-haired boy, son of the old fanner, 
mounted the horse, and Stratton gave orders to ' ' get along. " 4 ' Wait a moment, ' 
said the farmer, " you have not paid me yet." " I'll pay your boy when we get to 
Brussels, provided he gets there within the hour," replied Stratton. 

" Oh, he is sure to get there in an hour," said the fanner, " but I can't let him 
go unless you pay in advance." The minutes were flying rapidly, the anticipated 
loss of the day exhibition of General Tom Thumb flitted before his eyes, and 
Stratton, in very desperation, thrust his hand into his pocket and drew forth 
sixteen five-franc pieces, which he dropped, one at a time, into the hand of the 
farmer, and then called out to the boy, " There now, do try to see if you can 

* See Illustration, opposite. 


The boy did go ahead, but it was with such a snail's pace that it would have 
puzzled a man of tolerable eyesight to have determined whether the horse was 
moving or standing still To make it still more interesting, it commenced raining 
furiously. As we had left Brussels in a coach, and the morning had promised us 
a pleasant day, we had omitted our umbrellas. We were soon soaked to the skin. 
We "grinned and bore it" awhile without grumbling. At length Stratton, who 
was almost too angry to speak, desired Mr. Pinte to ask the red-haired boy if he 
expected to walk his horse all the way to Brussels. 

"Certainly," replied the boy; "he is too big and fat to do anything but walk. 
We never trot him." 

Stratton was terrified as he thought of the loss of the day exhibition ; and he 
cursed the boy, the cart, the rain, the luck, and even the battle of Waterloo itself. 
But it was all of no use, the horse would not run, but the rain did — down our 

At two o'clock, the time appointed for our exhibition, we were yet some seven 
miles from Brussels. The horse walked slowly and philosophically through the 
pitiless storm, the steam majestically rising from the old manure-cart, to the no 
small disturbance of our unfortunate olfactories. " It will take two hours to get 
to Brussels at this rate," growled Stratton. "Oh, no," replied the boy, "it will 
only take about two hours from the time we started " 

"But your father agreed to get us there in an hour," answered Stratton. 

"I know it," responded the boy, "but he knew it would take more than two." 

"I'll sue him for damage, by thunder! " said Stratton. 

"Oh, there would be no use in that," chimed in Mr. Pinte, "for you could get 
no satisfaction in this country." 

"But I shall lose more than a hundred dollars by being two hours instead of 
one," said Stratton. 

"They care nothing about that; all they care for is your eighty francs," 
remarked Pinte. 

"But they have lied and swindled me," replied Stratton. 

" Oh, you must not mind that, it is the custom of the country." 

All things will finally have an end, and our party did at length actually arrive 
in Brussels, cart and all, in precisely two hours and a half from the time we left 
the farmer's house. Of course we were too late to exhibit the little General. 
Hundreds of visitors had gone away disappointed. 

Several months subsequent to our visit to Waterloo, I was in Birmingham, and 
there made the acquaintance of a firm who manufactured to order, and sent to 
Waterloo, barrels of "relics" every year. At Waterloo these "relics" are 
planted, and in due time dug up, and sold at large prices as precious remem- 
brances of the great battle. Our Waterloo purchases looked rather cheap after 
this discovery. 



In London the General again opened his levees in Egytian Hall with inert 
success. His unbounded popularity on the Continent, and his receptions by King 
Louis Philippe, of France, and King Leopold, of Belgium, had added greatly to 
his prestige and fame. Those who had seen him when he was in London months 
before, came to see him again, and new visitors crowded by thousands to the 
General's levees. 

Besides giving these daily entertainments, the General appeared occasionally 
for an hour, during the intermissions, at some place in the suburbs; and for a 
long time he appeared every day at the Surrey Zoological Gardens, under the 
direction of the proprietor, my particular friend, Mr. "W. Tyler. This place 
subsequently became celebrated for its great music hall, in which Spurgeon, the 
sensational preacher, first attained his notoriety. The place was always crowded, 
and when the General had gone through with his performances on the little stage, 
in order that all might see him, he was put into a balloon, which, secured by 
ropes, was then passed around the ground, just above the people's heads. Some 
forty men managed the ropes and prevented the balloon from rising; but, one 
day, a sudden gust of wind took the balloon fairly out of the hands of half the 
men who had hold of the ropes, while others were lifted from the ground, and 
had not an alarm been instantly given, which called at least two hundred to the 
rescue, the little General would have been lost. 

In October, 1844, I made my first return visit to the United States, leaving 
General Tom Thumb in England, in the hands of an accomplished and faithful 
agent. One of the principal reasons for my return at this time, was my anxiety 
to renew the Museum building lease, although my first lease of five years had 
still three years longer to run. 

Having completed my business arrangements in New York, I returned to Eng- 
land with my wife and daughters, and hired a house in Loudon. My house was 
the scene of constant hospitality, which I extended to my numerous friends in 
return for the many attentions shown to me. It seemed then as if I had more and 
stronger friends in London than in New York, I had met and had been introduced 
to "almost everybody who was anybody," and among them all, some of the 
best soon became to me much more than mere acquaintances. 

Among the distinguished people whom I met, I was introduced to the poet- 
banker, Samuel Rogers. I saw him at a dinner party at the residence of the 
American Minister, the Honorable Edward Everett. As we were going in to 
dinner, I stepped aside, so that Mr. Rogers who was tottering along leaning on 
the arm of a friend, could go in before me, when Mr. Rogers said : 

"Pass in, Mr. Barnum, pass in; I always consider it an honor to follow an 

When our three months' engagement at Egytian Hall had expired, I arranged 
for a protracted provincial tour through Great Britain. I had made a flyinjr 
*iait to Scotland before we went to Paris — mainly to procure the beautiful Scot< u 



costumes, daggers, etc., which were carefully made for the General at Edinburgh, 
and to teach the General the Scotch dances, with a bit of the Scotch dialect, 
which added so much to the interest of his exhibitions in Paris and elsewhere. 
My second visit to Scotland, for the purpose of giving exhibitions, extended as 
far as Aberdeen. 

In England we went to Manchester, Birmingham, and to almost every city, town 
and even village of importance. We traveled by post much of the time — that is, I 
had a suitable carriage made for my party, and a van which conveyed the Gen- 
eral's carriage, ponies, and such other "property" as was needed for our levees. 
This mode of traveling was not only very comfortable and independent, but it 
enabled us to visit many out of the way places, off from the great lines of travel, 
and in such places we gave some of our most successful exhibitions. We also 
used the railway lines freely, leaving our carriages at any station, and taking 
them up again when we returned. 

I remember once making an extraordinary effort to reach a branch-line station, 
where I meant to leave my teams and take the rail for Rugby. I had a time- 
table, and knew at what horn' exactly I could hit the train; but unfortunately the 
axle to my carriage broke, and, as an hour was lost in repairing it, I lost exactly 
an hour in reaching the station. The train had long been gone, and I must be in 
Rugby, where we had advertised a performance. I stormed around till I found 
the superintendent, and told him "I must instantly have an extra train to 

"Extra train?" said he, with surprise and a half sneer, "extra train?" why 
you can't have an extra train to Rugby for less than sixty pounds." 

"Is that all?" I asked; "w r ell, get up your train immediately and here are 
your sixty pounds. What in the world are sixty pounds to me, when I wish to 
go to Rugby, or elsewhere, in a hurry! " 

The astonished superintendent took the money, bustled about, and the train 
was soon ready. He was greatly puzzled to know what distinguished person — 
he thought he must be dealing with some prince, or, at least, a duke — was willing 
to give so much money to save a few hours of time, and he hesitatingly asked 
whom he had the honor of serving. 

" General Tom Thumb." 

We reached Rugby in time to give our performance, as announced, and our 
receipts were £160, which quite covered the expense of our extra train and left a 
handsome margin for profit. 

When we were in Oxford, a dozen or more of the students came to the conclu- 
sion that, as the General was a little fellow, the admission fee to his entertainments 
should be paid in the smallest kind of money. They accordingly provided them- 
selves with farthings, and as each man entered, instead of handing in a shilling 
for his ticket, he laid down forty-eight farthings. The counting of these small 
coins was a great annoyance to Mr. Stratton, the General's father, who was 
ticket-seller, and after counting two or three handfuls, vexed at the delay which 
was preventing a crowd of ladies and gentlemen from buying tickets, Mr. Strat- 
ton lost his temper and cried out: 

"Blast your quarter-pennies! I am not going to coimt them! you chaps who 
haven't bigger money can chuck your copper into my hat and walk in." 

Mr. Stratton was a genuine Yankee, and thoroughly conversant with the 
Yankee vernacular, which he used freely. In exhibiting the General, I often 
said to visitors, that Tom Thumb's parents, and the rest of the family, were 
persons of the ordinary size, and that the gentleman who presided in the ticket- 


. \\ 

:TTd42l"-fe,- "J 



office was the General's father. This made poor Stratton an object of no little 
curiosity, and he was pestered with all sorts of questions; on one occasion an old 
dowager said to him: 

" Are you really the father of General Tom Thumb?" 

" Wa'al," replied Stratton, "I have to support him! " 

This evasive answer is common enough in New England, but the literal dowa 
ger had her doubts, and promptly rejoined: 

" I rather think he supports you! " 

It must not be supposed that during my protracted stay abroad I confined 
myself wholly to business, or limited my circle of observation with a golden rim. 
To be suae, I ever had " an eye to business," but I had also two eyes for observa- 
tion, and these were busily employed in leisure hours. I made the most of my 
opportunities and saw, hurriedly, it is trae, nearly everything worth seeing in 
the various places which I visited. All Europe was a great curiosity shop to me, 
and I willingly paid my money for the show. 

"While in London, my friend Albert Smith, a jolly companion, as well as a 
witty and sensible author, promised that when I reached Birmingham he would 
come and spend a day with me in "sight-seeing," including a visit to the house 
in which Shakespeare was born. 

Early one morning in the autumn of 1844, my friend Smith and myself took 
the box-seat of an English mail-coach, and were soon whirling at the rate of 
twelve miles an hour over the magnificent road leading from Birmingham to 
Stratford. The distance is thirty miles. At a little village four miles from 
Stratford, we found that the fame of the bard of Avon, had traveled thus far, 
for we noticed a sign over a miserable barber's shop, " Shakespeare hair-dressing 
— a good shave for a penny." In twenty minutes more we were set down at the 
door of the Bed Horse Hotel, in Stratford. The coachman and guard were each 
paid half a crown as their perquisites. 

"While breakfast was preparing, we called for a guide-book to the town, and the 
waiter brought in a book, saying that we should find in it the best description 
extant of the birth and burial place of Shakespeare. I was not a little proud to find 
this volume to be no other than the "Sketch-Book" of our illustrious country- 
man, "Washington Irving; and, in glancing over his humorous description of the 
place, I discovered that he had stopped at the same hotel where we were then 
awaiting breakfast. 

After examining the Shakespeare House, as well as the tomb and the church in 
which all that is mortal of the great poet rests, we ordered a post-chaise for 
Warwick Castle. "While the horses were harnessing, a stage-coach stopped at the 
hotel, and two gentlemen alighted. One was a sedate, sensible-looking man; the 
other an addle-headed fop. The former was mild and miassuming in his man- 
ners; the latter was all talk, without sense or meaning — in fact, a regular Charles 
Chatterbox. He evidently had a high opinion of himself, and was determined 
that all within hearing should understand that he was — somebody. Presently the 
sedate gentleman said: 

"Edward, this is Stratford. Let us go and see the house where Shakespeare 
was born. " 

"Who the devil is Shakespeare?" asked the sensible young gentleman. 

Our post-chaise was at the door; we leaped into it, and were off, leaving the 
" nice young man " to enjoy a visit to the birth-place of an individual of whom 
he had never before heard. The distance to "Warwick is fourteen miles. We 
went to the Castle, and, approaching the door of the Great Hall, were informed 


by a well-dressed porter that the Earl of Warwick and family were absent, and 
that he was permitted to show the apartments to visitors. He introduced us suc- 
cessively into "The Red Drawing-Room," "The Cedar Drawing-Room," "The 
Gilt Room," "The State Bed-Room" " Lady Warwick's Boudoir," "The Com- 
pass Room," "TheChapeL" and "The Great Dining-Room." As we passed out 
of the Castle, the polite porter touched his head (he of course had no hat on it) 
in a style which spoke plainer than words, " Half a crown each, if you please, 
gentlemen." We responded to the call, and were then placed in charge of 
another guide, who took us to the top of " Guy's Tower," at the bottom of which 
he touched his hat a shillin g's worth; and placing ourselves in charge of a third 
conductor, an old man of seventy, we proceeded to the Greenhouse to see the 
Warwick Vase — each guide announcing at the end of his short tour : ' ' Gentlemen, I 
go no farther," and indicating that the bill for his services was to be paid. The 
old gentleman mounted a rostrum at the side of the vase, and commenced a set 
speech, which we began to fear was interminable ; so, tossing him the usual fee, 
we left him in the middle of his oration. 

Passing through the porter's lodge on our way out, under the impression that 
we had seen all that was interesting, the old porter informed us that the most 
curious things connected with the Castle were to be seen in his lodge. Feeling 
for our coin, we bade him produce his relics, and he showed us a lot of trumpery, 
which he gravely informed us, belonged to that hero of antiquity, Guy, Earl of 
Warwick. Among these were his sword, shield, helmet, breast-piate, walking- 
staff, and tilting-pole, each of enormous size — the horse armor, nearly large 
enough for an elephant, a large pot which would hold seventy gallons, called 
"Guy's Porridge Pot," his flesh-fork, the size of a fanner's hay-fork, his lady's 
stirrups, the rib of a mastodon, which the porter pretended belonged to the great 
"Dun Cow," which, according to tradition, haunted a ditch near Coventry, and, 
after doing injury to many persons, was slain by the valiant Guy. The sword 
weighed nearly 100 pounds, and the armor 200 pounds. 

I told the old porter he was entitled to great credit for having concentrated 
more lies than I had ever before heard in so small a compass. He smiled, and 
evidently felt gratified by the compliment. 

" I suppose," I continued, " that you have told these marvelous stories so often 
that you believe them yourself ? " 

"Almost!" replied the porter, with a grin of satisfaction that showed he was 
" up to snuff," and had really earned two shillings. 

" Come now, old fellow," said I, " what will you take for the entire lot of those 
traps? I want them for my Museum in America." 

" No money would buy these valuable historical mementoes of a by -gone age," 
replied the old porter, with a leer. 

"Never mind," I exclaimed, "I'll have them duplicated for my Museum, so 
that Americans can see them and avoid the necessity of coming here, and in that 
way I'll burst up your show." 

Albert Smith laughed immoderately at the astonishment of the porter when 
1 made this threat, and I was greatly amused some years afterwards, when 
Albert Smith became a successful showman and was exhibiting his " Mont Blanc " 
to delighted audiences in London, to discover that he had introduced this very 
incident into his lecture, of course, changing the names and locality. He often 
confessed that he derived his very first idea of becoming a showman from my 
talk about the business and my doings, on this charming day when we visited 


We returned to the hotel, took a post-chaise, and drove through decidedly 1 1 te 
most lovely country I ever beheld. Since taking that tour, I have heard that 
two gentlemen once made a bet, each that he could name the most delightful drive 
in England. Many persons were present, and each gentleman wrote on a separata • 
slip of paper the scene which he most admired. One gentleman wrote, "The 
road from Warwick to Coventry;" the other had written, "The road from 
Coventry to Warwick." 

In less than an hour we were set down at the outer walls of Kenilworth Castle. 
This once noble and magnificent castle is now a stupendous ruin, which has been 
so often described that I think it unnecessary to say anything about it here. We 
spent half an hour in examining the interesting ruins, and then proceeded by 
post-chaise to Coventry, a distance of six or eight miles. Here we visited St. 
Mary's Hall, wliich has attracted the notice of many antiquaries. We also took 
our own "peep " at the effigy of the celebrated " Peeping Tom," after which we 
visited an exhibition called the "Happy Famil} r ," consisting of about two hun- 
dred birds and animals of opposite natures and propensities, all living in harmony 
together in one cage. This exhibition was so remarkable that I bought it and 
hired the proprietor to accompany it to New York, and it became an attractive 
feature in my Museum. 

We took the cars the same evening for Bir min gh am, where we arrived at ten 
o'clock, Albert Smith remarking, that never before in his life had he accomplished 
a day's journey on the Yankee go-ahead principle. He afterwards published a 
chapter in Bentley's M yazine entitled " A Day with Barnum." in wliich he said 
we accomplished business with such rapidity that, when he attempted to write out 
the accounts of the day, he found the whole thing so confused in his brain that he 
came near locating "Peeping Tom" in the house of Shakespeare, while Guy of 
Warwick would stick his head above the ruins of Kenilworth, and the Warwick 
Vase appeared in Coventry. 



While I was at Aberdeen, in Scotland, I met Anderson, the "Wizard of the 
North." I had known him for a long time, and we were on familiar terms. He 
came to om exhibition, and , at the close, we went to the hotel together to get a 
little supper. After supper we were having some fun and jokes together, when 
it occurred to Anderson to introduce me to several persons who were sitting in 
the room, as the "Wizard of the North," at the same time asking me about my 
tricks and my forthcoming exhibition. He kept this up so persistently that some 
of our friends who were present declared that Anderson was "too much for me," 
and, meanwhile, fresh introductions to strangers who came in, had made me 
pretty generally known in that circle as the " Wizard of the North," who was to 
astonish the town in the following week. I accepted the situation at last, and 

"Well, gentlemen, as I perform here for the first time, on Monday evening, 1 
like to be liberal, and I should be very happy to give orders of admission to those 
of you who will attend my exhibition." 

The applications for orders were quite general, and I had written thirty or 
forty, when Anderson, who saw that I was in a fair way of filling his house with 
" deadheads," cried out: 

"Hold on! I am the 'Wizard of the North.' I'll stand the orders already 
given, but not another one." 

Our friends, including the " Wizard " himself, began to think that I had rather 
the best of the joke. 

During our three years' stay abroad, I made a second hasty visit to America, 
leaving the General in England in the hands of my agents. I took passage from 
Liverpool on board a Cunard steamer, commanded by Captain Judkins. One of 
my fellow passengers was the celebrated divine, Robert Baird, who had been for 
some time a missionary in Sweden, and was now paying a visit to his native land. 

On Sunday divine service was held as usual in the large after-cabin. Of course 
it was the Episcopal form of worship. 

Those who have witnessed this service, as conducted by Captain Judkins, need 
not be reminded that he does it much as he performs his duties on deck. He 
speaks as one having authority; and a listener could hardly help feeling that there 
would be some danger of a "row" if the petitions (made as a sort of command) 
were not speedily answered. 

After dinner I asked Dr. Baird if he would be willing to preach to the passengers 
in the forward cabin. He said he would cheerfully do so if it was desired. I 
mentioned it to the passengers, and there was a generally expressed wish among 
them that he should preach. I went into the forward cabin, and requested the 
steward to arrange the chairs and tables properly for religious service. He 
replied that I must first get the captain's consent. Of course, I thought this was 
a mere matter of form; so I went to the captain's office, and said: 

" Captain, the passengers desire to have Dr. Baird conduct a religious service in 
the forward cabin. I suppose there is no objection." 

92 ' 


"Decidedly there is," replied the captain, graft ly ; ' ' and it will not be permitted." 

'• Why not?" I asked, in astonishment. 

" It is against the rules of the ship." 

" What ! to have religious services on board?" 

"There have been religious services once to-day, and that is enough. If the 
passengers do not think that is good enough, let them go without," was the 
captain's hasty and austere reply. 

"Captain," I replied, "do you pretend to say you will not allow a respectable 
and well-known clergyman to offer a prayer and hold religious services on board 
your ship at the request of your passengers?" 

"That, sir, is exactly what I say. So, now, let me hear no more about it." 

By this time a dozen passengers were crowding around his door, and expressing 
their surprise at his conduct. I was indignant, and used sharp language. 

"Well, " said I, " this is the most contemptible thing I ever heard of on the part 
of the owners of a public passenger ship. Then* meanness ought to be published 
far and wi i . 

"You had better ' shut up,' " said Captain Judkins, with great sternness. 

"I will uot 'shut up,' " I replied; "for this tiling is perfectly outrageous. In 
that out-of-the-way forward cabin, you allow, on week days, gambling, swearing, 
smoking and singing, till late at night; and yet on Sunday you have the impu- 
dence to deny the privilege of a prayer-meeting, conducted by a gray-haired and 
respected minister of the gospel. It is simply infamous!" 

Captain Judkins turned red in the face; and, no doubt feeling that he was 
"monarch of all he surveyed," exclaimed, in a loud voice: 

"If you repeat such language, I will put you in irons." * 

"Do it, if you dare," said I, feeling my indignation rising rapidly. "I dare 
and defy you to put your finger on me. I would like to sail into New York Har- 
bor in handcuffs, on board a British ship, for the terrible crime of asking that 
religious Worship may be permitted on board. So you may try it as soon as you 
please ; and, when we get to New York, I'll show you a touch of Yankee ideas 
of religious intolerance." 

The captain made no reply ; and, at the request of friends, I walked to another 
part of the ship. I told the doctor how the matter stood, and then, laughingly, 
said to him : 

" Doctor, it may be dangerous for you to tell of this incident when you get on 
shore ; for it would be a pretty strong draught upon the credulity of many of 
my countrymen if they were told that my zeal to hear an Orthodox minister 
preach was so great that it came near getting me into solitary confinement. But 
I am not prejudiced, and I like fair play." 

The old Doctor replied: "Well, you have not lost much; and, if the rules of 
this ship are so stringent, I suppose we must submit." 

The captain and myself had no further intercourse for five or six days: not 
until a few hours before our arrival in New York. Being at dinner, he sent his 
champagne bottle to me, and asked to " drink my health," at the same time stat- 
ing that ne noped no ill feeling would be carried ashore. I was not then, as I am 
now, a teetotaler; so I accepted the proffered trace, and I regret that I must add 
I "washed down" my wrath in a bottle of Heidsick — a poor example, which I 
hope never to repeat. We have frequently met since, and always with friendly 
greetings; but I have ever felt that his manners were unnecessarOy coarse and 

* See Illustration, page 88. 


offensive in carrying out an arbitrary and bigoted rule of the steamship company. 

With the exception of the brief time passed in making two short visits to 
America, I had now passed three years with General Tom Thumb in Great Britain 
and on the Continent. The entire period had been a season of unbroken pleasure 
and profit. 1 had immensely enlarged my business experiences and had made 
money and many friends. Among those to whom I am indebted for special 
courtesies while I was abroad are Dr. C. S. Brewster, whose prosperous profes- 
sional career in Russia and France is well known, and Henry Sumner, Esq., 
who occupied a high position in the social and literary circles of Paris, and who 
introduced me to George Sand and to many other distinguished persons. To both 
these gentlemen, as well as to Mr. John Nimmo, an English gentleman connected 
with Galignani's Messenger, Mr. Lorenzo Draper, the American Consul, and Mi-. 
Dion Boucicault, I was largely indebted for attention. In London, two gentle- 
men especially merit my warm acknowledgments for many valuable favors. I 
refer to the late Thomas Brettell, publisher, Haymarket; and Mr. R. Fillingham, 
Jr., Fenchurch street. 1 was also indebted to Mr. G. P. Putnam, at that time a 
London publisher, for much useful information. 

We had visited nearly every city and town in France and Belgium, all the 
principal places in England and Scotland, besides going to Belfast and Dublin, in 
Ireland. I had several times met Daniel O'Connell in private life, and in the 
Irish capital I heard him make an eloquent and powerful public Repeal speech 
in Conciliation Hah. In Dublin, after exhibiting a week in Rotunda Hall, 
our receipts on the last day were £261, or $1,305, and the General also received 
£50, or $250, for playing the same evening at the Theater Royal. Thus closing a 
truly triumphant tour, we set sail for New York, arriving in February, 1847 

Note.— This Autobiography was originally written fifteen years ago (1869). 
On now revising it in 1884, 1 am forcibly struck with the brevity and uncertainty 
of human life. Every person mentioned on this page, with the exception of Mr. 
Boucicault, has passed away. My assistant museum manager, John Greenwood, 
Jr. , became a consul to Brunswick, Germany, and died there about 1872. An- 
other valuable assistant manager, Fordyce Hitchcock, died the present year. 
General Tom Thumb died at Middleboro, Mass. , July 15, 1883, aged 45% years. 
His parents are also both deceased. Minnie Warren died July 23, 1878, aged 29 
years. Commodore Nutt died May 25. 1881. aged 33 years. 



One of my main objects in returning home at this time, was to obtain a longer 
lease of the premises occupied by the American Museum. My lease had stih 
three years to run, but Mr. Olmsted, the proprietor of the building, was dead, and 
I was anxi ous to make provision in time for the perpetuity of my establishment, 
for I meant to make the Museum a permanent institution in the city, and if I could 
not renew my lease, I intended to build an appropriate edifice on Broadway. 1 
finally succeeded, however, in getting the lease of the entire building, covering 
fifty -six feet by one hundred, for twenty-five years, at an annual rent of §10,000 
and the ordinary taxes and assessments. I had already hired in addition the 
upper stories of three adjoining buildings. My Museum receipts were more in 
one day, than they formerly were in an entire week, and the establishment had 
become so popular that it was thronged at all hours, from early morning to 
closing time at night. 

On my return, I promptly made use of General Tom Thumb's European reputa- 
tion. He immediately appeared in the American Museum, and for four weeks drew 
such crowds of visitors as had never been seen there before. He afterwards spent 
a month in Bridgeport, with his kindred. To prevent being annoyed by the curi- 
ous, who would be sure to throng the houses of his relatives, he exhibited two 
days at Bridgeport, and the receipts, amounting to several hundred dollars, were 
presented to the Bridgeport Charitable Society. 

On January 1, 1845, while in England, my engagement with the General at a 
salary ceased, and we made a new arrangement by which we were equal partners, 
the General or his father for him, taking one-half of the profits. A reservation, 
however, was made of the first four weeks after our arrival in New York, during 
which he was to exhibit at my Museum for two hundred dollars. When we 
returned to America, the General's father had acquired a handsome fortune, and 
settling a large sum upon the little General personally, he placed the balance at 
interest, secured by bond and mortgage, excepting thirty thousand dollars, with 
which he purchased land near the city limits of Bridgeport, and erected a large 
and substantial mansion, where he resided till the day of his death. 

After spending a month in visiting his friends, it was determined that the 
General and his parents should travel through the United States. I agreed to 
accompany them, with occasional intervals of rest at home, for one year, sharing 
the profits equally. We proceeded to Washington city, where the General held 
his levees in April, 1847, visiting President Polk and lady at the White House — 
thence to Richmond, returning to Baltimore and Philadelphia. Our receipts in 
Philadelphia hi twelve days were §5,594.01. The tour for the entire year realized 
about the same average. The expenses were from twenty-five dollars to thirty 
dollars per day. From Philadelphia we went to Boston, Lowell, and Providence. 
Our receipts on one day in the latter city were $976.97. We then visited New 
Bedford, Fall River. Salem. Worcester, Springfield, Albany, Troy, Niagara 
Falls, Buffalo, and intermediate places, and in returning to New York we stopped 


96 AT HOME. 

at the principal towns on the Hudson River. After this we visited New Haven, 
Hartford, Portland, Me., and intermediate towns. 

I was surprised to find that, during my long absence abroad, I had become very 
much of a curiosity to my patrons. If I showed myself about the Museum 01 
wherever else I was known, 1 found eyes peering and fingers pointing at me, and 
could frequently overhear the remark, " There's Barnum. " On one occasion soon 
after my return, I was sitting in the ticket-office reading a newspaper. A man 
came and purchased a ticket of admission. " Is Mr. Barnum in the Museum 2 '' 
he asked. The ticket-seller, pointing to me, answered, "This is Mr. Barnum " 
Supposing the gentleman had business with me, I looked up from the paper. '• Is 
this Mr. Barnum ?" he asked. " It is," I replied. He stared at me for a moment, 
and then, thro whig down his ticket, exclaimed, "It's all right; I have got the 
worth of my money;" and away he went, without going into the Museum at all: 

In November, 1847, we started for Havana taking the steamer from New York 
to Charleston, where the General exhibited, as well as at Columbia, Augusta, 
Savannah, Milledgeville, Macon, Columbus, Montgomery, Mobile and New Or- 
leans. At this latter city we remained three weeks, including Christmas and 
New Year's. We arrived in Havana by the schooner Adams Gray, in January, 
ISIS, and were introduced to the Captain-General and the Spanish nobility. We 
remained a month in Havana and Matanzas, the General proving an immense 
favorite. In Havana he was the especial pet of Count Santovania. In Matanzas 
we were very much indebted to the kindness of a princely American merchant, 
Mr. Brinckerhoff. Mr. J. S. Thrasher, the American patriot and gentleman, was 
also of great assistance to us, and placed me under deep obligations. 

The hotels in Havana are not good. An American who is accustomed to 
substantial living finds it difficult to get enough to eat. We stopped at the 
Washington House, which at that time was "first-rate bad." 

From Havana we went to New Orleans, where we remained several days, and 
from New Orleans we proceeded to St. Louis, stopping at the principal towns on 
the Mississippi river, and returning via Louisville, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh. 
We reached the latter city early in May, 1848. From this point it was agreed 
between Mr. Stratton and myself, that I should go home and henceforth travel 
no more with the little General. I had competent agents who could exhibit him 
without my personal assistance, and I preferred to relinquish a portion of the 
profits, rather than continue to be a traveling showman. I had now been a 
straggler from home most of the tune for thirteen years, and I cannot describe 
the feelings of gratitude with which I reflected, that having by the most arduous 
toil and deprivations succeeded in securing a satisfactory competence, I should 
henceforth spend my days in the bosom of my family. 

My new home, at Bridgeport, Connecticut, which was then nearly ready for 
occupancy, was the well-known L-anistan. More than two years had been 
employed in building this beautiful residence. 

I 'wished to reside within a few hours of New York. I had never seen more 
delightful locations than there are upon the borders of Long Island Sound, 
between New Rochelle, New York, and New Haven, Connecticut: and my atten- 
tion was therefore turned in that direction. Bridgeport seemed to be about the 
proper distance from the great metropolis. It is pleasantly situated at the ter- 
minus of two railroads, which traverse the fertile valleys of the Naugatuck and 
Housatonic rivers. The New York and New Haven Railroad runs through the 
city, and there is also daily steamboat communication with New York. The 
enterprise which characterized the city, seemed to mark it as destined to become 

AT HOME. 9? 

the first in the State in size and opulence ; and I was not long in deciding, with 
the concurrence of my wife, to fix our future residence in that vicinity. 

I accordingly purchased seventeen acres of land, less than a mile west of the 
city, and fronting with a good view upon the Sound. 

In visiting Brighton, in England, I had been greatly pleased with the Pavilion 
erected by George IV. It was the only specimen of Oriental architecture in 
England, and the style had not been introduced into America. I concluded to 
adopt it, and engaged a London architect to furnish me a set of drawings after 
the general plan of the Pavilion, diifering sulnciently to be adapted to the spot 
of ground selected for my homestead. On my second return visit to the United 
States, I brought these drawings with me and engaged a competent architect and 
builder, giving him instructions to proceed with the work, not "by the job " but 
"by the day," and to spare neither time nor expense in erecting a comfortable, 
convenient, and tasteful residence. The work was thus begun and continued 
while I was still abroad, and during the time when I was making my tour with 
General Tom Thumb through the United States and Cuba. Elegant and appro- 
priate furniture was made expressly for every room in the house. I erected 
expensive water works to supply the premises. The stables, conservatories and 
out-buildings were perfect in their kind. There was a profusion of trees set out 
on the grounds. The whole was built and established literally "regardless of 
expense," for I had no desire even to ascertain the entire cost. 

The whole was finally completed to my satisfaction. My family removed into 
the premises and, on the fourteenth of November, 1818, nearly one thousand 
invited guests, including the poor and the rich, helped us in the old-fashioned 
custom of "house-warming." • 

When the name " Iranistan " was announced, a waggish New York editor sylla- 
bled it, I-ran-i-stan, and gave as the interpretation, that " I ran a long time before 
I could stan' ! " Literally, however, the name signifies, " Eastern Country Place," 
or, more poetically, "Oriental Villa." * 

The years 1S48 and 1849 were mainly spent with my family, though I went 
every week to New York to look after the interests of the American Museum. 
While I was in Europe, in 1845, my agent, Mr. Fordyce Hitchcock, had bought 
out for me the Baltimore Museum, a fully-supplied establishment, in full opera- 
tion, and I placed it under the charge of my uncle, Alanson Taylor. He died in 
1846, and I then sold the Baltimore Museum to the " Orphean Family," by whom 
it was subsequently transferred to Mr. John E. Owens, the celebrated comedian. 
After my return from Europe, I opened, in 1849, a Museum in Dr. Swain's fine 
building, at the comer of Chestnut and Seventh streets, in Philadelphia. 

I stayed in Philadelphia long enough to identify myself with this Museum and 
to successfully start the enterprise, and then left it in the hands of different mana- 
gers who profitably conducted it till 1851, when, finding that it occupied too much 
of my time and attention, I sold it to Mr. Clapp Spooner for $40,000. At the 
end of that year, the building and contents were destroyed by fire. 

While my Philadelphia Museum was in full operation, Peale's Philadelphia 
Museum ran me a strong opposition at the Masonic Hall. Peale's enterprise proved 
disastrous, and I purchased the collection at sheriff 's sale, for five or six thousand 
dollars, on joint account of my friend Moses Kimball and myself. The curiosi- 
l>ies were equally divided, one-half going to his Boston Museum and the other 
half to my American Museum in New York. 

•See Illustration, opposite. 

38 AT HOME. 

Ill 1S4S 1 was elected President of the Fairfield County Agricultural Society in 
Connecticut. Although not practically a farmer, I had purchased about one 
hundred acres of land in the vicinity of my residence and felt and still feel a 
deep interest in the cause of agriculture. I had begun by importing some blood 
stock for Iranistan, and, as I was at one time attacked by the "hen fever, "I 
erected several splendid poultry-houses on my grounds. 

In 1S49 it was determined by the Society that I should deliver the annual address. 
I begged to be excused on the ground of incompetency, but my excuses were of 
no avail, and, as I could not instruct my auditors in farming, I gave them the 
benefit of several mistakes which I had committed. Among other things, I told 
them that in the fall of 1S48 my head-gardener reported that I had fifty bushels 
of potatoes to spare. I thereupon directed him to barrel them up and ship them 
to New York for sale. He did so, and received two dollars per barrel, or about 
sixty-seven cents per bushel. But, unfortunately, after the potatoes had been 
shipped, I found that my gardener had selected all the largest for market, and 
left my family nothing but " small potatoes " to live on during the winter. But 
the worst is still to come. My potatoes were all gone before March, and I was 
obliged to buy, during the spring, over fifty bushels of potatoes, at $1.25 per 
bushel ! I also related my first experiment in the arboricultural line, when I cut 
from two thrifty rows of young cherry-trees any quantity of what I supposed to 
be "suckers," or "sprouts," and was thereafter informed by my gardener that I 
had cut off all his grafts! 

A friend of mine, Mi*. James D. Johnson, lived in a fine house a quarter of a 
mile west of Iranistan, and, as I owned several acres of land at the corner of two 
streets, directly adjoining his homestead, I surrounded the ground with high 
pickets, and, introducing a number of Rocky Mountain elk, reindeer, and Ameri- 
can deer, I converted it into a deer park. Strangers passing by would naturally 
suppose that it belonged to Johnson's estate, and to render the illusion more 
complete, his son-in-law, Mr. S. H. "Wales, of the Scientific American, placed a 
sign in the park, fronting on the street, and reading: 

"All persons are forbid trespassing on these grounds, or disturbing 
the deer, j. d. johnson." 

I "acknowledged the corn," and was much pleased with the joke. Johnson 
was delighted, and bragged considerably of having got ahead of Barnum, and 
the sign remained undisturbed for several days. It happened at length that a 
party of friends came to visit him from New York, arriving in the evening. 
Johnson told them he had got a capital joke on Barnum ; he would not explain, 
but said they should see it for themselves the next morning. Bright and early 
he led them into the street, and, after conducting them a proper distance, 
wheeled them around in front of the sign. To his dismay he discovered that I 
had added directly under his name the words " Game-keeper to P. T. Bamnm." 

Thereafter, Mr. Johnson was known among his friends and acquaintances as 
"Barnum's game-keeper." Sometime afterwards, when I was President of the 
Pequoimock Bank, it was my custom every year to give a grand d in n er at Iran- 
istan, to the directors, and in making preparations I used to send to certain 
friends in the West for prairie chickens and other game. On one occasion, a 
large box, marked "P. T. Barnum, Bridgeport; Game," was lying in the express 
office, when Johnson, seeing it and espying the word "game," said: 

"Look here! 1 am ' Barnum' s game-keeper,' and I'll take charge of this box." 

AT HOME. 99 

And "take charge" of it he did, carrying it home and notifying me that it 
was in his possession, and that, as he was my game-keeper, he would "keep" 
this, unless I sent him an order for a new hat. He knew very well, that I would 
give fifty dollars rather than be deprived of the box, and as he also threatened to 
give a game dinner at his own house, I speedily sent the order for the hat, 
acknowledged the good joke, and my own guests enjoyed the double "game." 

During the year 1848, Mr. Frank Leslie, since so widely known as the publisher 
of several illustrated journals, came to me with letters of introduction from 
London, and I employed him to get up for me an illustrated catalogue of my 
Museum. This he did in a splendid manner, and hundreds of thousands of 
copies were sold and distributed far and near, thus adding greatly to the renown 
of the establishment. 



And now I come to speak of an undertaking which all will admit was bold 
in its conception, complete in its development, and astounding in its success. 
That I am proud of it, I freely confess. It placed me before the world in a new 
light; it gained me many warm friends in new circles; it was in itself a fortun* 1 
to me — I risked much, but I made more. 

It was in October, 1849, that I conceived the idea of bringing Jenny Lind to 
this country. I had never heard her sing, inasmuch as she arrived in London a 
few weeks after I left that city with General Tom Thumb. Her reputation, 
however, was sufficient for me. 

I found in Mr. John Hall Wilton, an Englishman who had visited this country 
with the Sax-Hom Players, the best man whom I knew for that purpose. A 
few minutes sufficed to make the arrangement with him, by which I was to pay 
but little more than his expenses if he failed in his mission, but by which, also, he 
was to be paid a large sum if he succeeded in bringing Jenny Lind to our shores 
on any terms within a liberal schedule which I set forth to him in writing. 

The sum of all my instructions, public and private, to Wilton, amounted to 
this: He was to engage her on shares, if possible. I, however, authorized him to 
engage her at any rate, not exceeding one thousand dollars a night, for any 
number of nights up to one hundred and fifty, with all her expenses, including 
servants, carriages, secretary, etc., besides also engaging such musical assistants, 
not exceeding three in number, as she should select, let the terms be what they 
might. If necessary, I should place the entire amount of money named in the 
engagement, in the hands of London bankers before she sailed. Wilton's com- 
pensation was arranged on a kind of sliding scale, to be governed by the terras 
which he made for me. He proceeded to London, and opened a correspondence 
with Miss Lind, who was then on the Continent. He learned from the tenor of 
her letters, that if she could be induced to visit America at all, she must be 
accompanied by * Mr. Julius Benedict, the accomplished composer, pianist, and 
musical director, and also she was impressed with the belief that Signor Belletti, 
the fine baritone, would be of essential service. Wilton, therefore, at once called 
upon Mr. Benedict and also Signor Belletti, who were both then in London, and in 
numerous interviews, was enabled to learn the terms on which they would con- 
sent to engage to visit this country with Miss Lind. Having obtained the 
information desired, he proceeded to Lubeck, in Germany, to seek an interview 
with Miss Lind herself. 

In the course of the first conversation, she frankly told him that during the 
time occupied by their correspondence, she had written to friends in London, 
including my friend Mr. Joshua Bates, of the house of Baling Brothers, and had 
informed herself respecting my character, capacity, and responsibility, which 
she assured him were quite satisfactory. She informed him, however, that at 
that time there were four persons anxious to negotiate with her for an American 

* Now Sir Julius. 


This portrait of Jenny Lincl is taken from " Oui; First Ckntlky,"' and 
for the privilege of using it I am indebted to the courtesy of Messrs. C. A. 
Nichols & Co., Springfield, Mass., the publishers of that work. Jenny Lind 
was 88 years old in 1851. P. T. B. 

1 sr, i . 


four. One of these gentlemen was a well-known opera manager in London; 
another, a theatrical manager in Manchester ; a third, a musical composer and 
conductor of the orchestra of Her Majesty's Opera in London; and the fourth, 
Chevalier Wyckoff , a person who had conducted a successful speculation some 
years previously, by visiting America in charge of the celebrated danseuse, 
Fanny Elisler. 

Several interviews ensued, during which she learned from W"ilton that he had 
settled with Messrs. Benedict and Belletti, in regard to the amount of their 
salaries, provided the engagement was concluded, and in the course of a week, 
Mr. AVilton and Miss Lind had arranged the terms and conditions on which she 
was ready to conclude the negotiations. As these terms were within the limits 
fixed in my private letter of instructions, the following agreement was duly 
drawn in triplicate, and signed by herself and "Wilton^ at Lubeck, January 9, 
1850; and the signatures of Messrs. Benedict and Belletti were affixed in London 
a few days afterwards: 

Memorandum of an agreement entered into this ninth day of January, in the year of our 
Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty, between John Hall Wilton, as agent for Phin- 
bas T. Barnum. of New York, in the United States of North America, of the one part, and 
Mademoiselle Jenny Lind, Vocalist, of Stockholm, in Sweden, of the other part wherein 
the said Jenny Liud doth agree: 

First. To sing for the said Phineas T. Barnum in one hundred and fifty concerts, Iticlul- 
ing oratorios, within (if possible; one year or eighteen months fiom the date of hc€ rrival 
in the city of New York— the said concerts to be given in the United States ci North 
America and Havana. She, the said Jenny Lind, having full control as to the number of 
nights or concerts in each week, and the number of pieces in which she will sing in each 
concert, to be regulated conditionally with her health and safety of voice, but the former 
never less than one or two, nor the latter less than four; but in no case to appear ii 

Second. In consideration of said services, the said John Hall Wilton, as agent *br the 
said Phineas T. Barnum, of New York, agrees to furnish the said Jenny Lind wi'.i a ser- 
vant as waiting-maid, and a male servant to and for the sole service of her and her party; 
to pay the traveling and hotel expenses of a friend to accompany her as a companion; to 
pay also a secretary to superintend her finances; to pay all her and her party's traveling 
expenses from Europe, acd during the tour in the United States of North America and 
Havana ; to pay all hotel expenses' for board and lodging during the same period ; to place 
at her disposal in each city, a carriage and horses with their necessary attendants, and to 
give her in addition, the sum of two hundred pounds sterling, or one thousand dollars, for 
each concert or oratorio in which the said Jenny Lind shall sing. 

Third. And the said John Hall Wilton, as agent for the said Phineas T. Barnum, doth 
further agree to give the said Jenny Lind the most satisfactory security and assurance for 
the full amount of her engagement, which will be placed in the hands of Messrs. Baring 
Brothers, of London, previous to the departure, and subject to the order of the said Jenny 
Lind, with its interest due on its current reduction, by her services in the concerts or 

Fourth. And the said John Hall Wilton, on the part of the said Phineas T. Barnum, 
further agrees, that should the said Phineas T. Barnum, after seventy-five concerts, have 
realized so much as shall, after paying all current expenses, have returned to him all the 
sums disbursed, either as deposits at interest, for securities of salaries, preliminary outlay, 
or moneys in any way expended consequent on this engagement, and in addition, have 
gained a clear profit of at least fifteen thousand pounds sterling, then the said Phineas T. 
Barnum will give the said Jenny Lind, in addition to the former sum of one thousand dol- 
lars current money of the United States of North America, nightly, one-fifth part of the 
profits arising from the remaining seventy-five concerts or oratorios, after deducting every 
expense current and appertaining thereto; or the said Jenny Lind agrees to try, with the 
said Phineas T. Barnum, fifty concerts or oratorios on the aforesaid and first-named terms, 
and if then found to fall short of the expectations of the said Phineas T. Barnum, then the 
said Jenny Lind agrees to re-organize this agreement, on terms quoted in his first proposal, 
as set forth in the annexed copy of his letter ; but should such be found unnecessary, then 
the engagement continues up to seventy-five concerts or oratorios, at the end of which, 
should the aforesaid profit of fifteen thousand pounds sterling have not been realized, then 
the engagement shall continue as at first — the sums herein, after expenses for Julius Bene- 
dict and Giovanni Belletti, to remain unaltered, except for advancement. 

Fifth. And the said John Hall Wilton, agent for the said Phineas T. Barnum, at 1he 
request of the said Jenny Lind,. agrees to pay to Julius Benedict, of London, to accompany 
the said Jenny Lind as musical director, piauist, and superintendent of the musical depart- 


ment, also to assist the said Jenny Lind in one hundred and fifty concerts or oratorios, tc 
be given in the United States of North America and Havana, the sum of five thousand 
pounds (£5,000) sterling, to be satisfactorily secured to him with Messrs. Baring Brothers, 
of London, previous to his departure from Europe; and the said John Hall Wilton agrees 
further, for the said Phiueas T. Barnum to pay all his traveling expenses from Europe, 
together with his hotel and traveling expenses during the time occupied in giving the afore- 
said one hundred and fifty concerts or oratorios— he, the said Julius Benedict to superin- 
tend the organization of oratorios, if required. 

Sixth. And the said John Hall Wilton, at the request, selection, and for the aid of the 
said Jenny Lind, agrees to pay to Giovanni Belletti, baritone vocalist, to accompany the 
said Jenny Lind during her tour and in one hundred and fifty concerts or oratorios in the 
United States of North America and Havana, and in conjunction with the aforesaid Julius 
Benedict, the sum of two thousand five hundred pounds (£2,500) sterling, to be satisfac- 
torily secured to him previous to his departure from Europe, in addition to all his hotel and 
traveling expenses. 

Seventh. And it is further agreed that the said Jenny Lind shall be at full liberty to sing 
at any time she may think fit tor charitable institutions, or purposes independent of the 
engagement with the said Phineas T. Barnum, she, the said Jenny Lind, consulting with 
the said Phineas T. Barnum with a view to mutually agreeing as to the time and its pro- 
priety, it being understood that in no case shall the first or second concert in any city 
selected for the tour be for such purpose, or wherever it shall appear against the interests 
of the said Phineas T. Barnum. 

Eighth. It is further agreed that should the said Jenny Lind by any act of God, be 
incapacitated to fulfil the entire engagement before mentioned, that an equal proportion of 
the terms agreed upon shall be given to the said Jenny Lind, Julius Benedict, and Giovanni 
Belletti, for services rendered to that time. 

Ninth. It is further agreed and understood, that the said Phineas T. Barnum shall pay 
every expense appertaining to the concerts or oratorios before mentioned, excepting those 
for charitable purposes, and that all accounts shall be settled and rendered by all parties 

Tenth. And the said Jenny Lind furthers agrees that she will not engage to sing for 
any other person during the progress of this said engagement with the said Phineas T. 
Barnum, of New York, for one hundred and fifty concerts or oratorios, excepting for 
charitable purposes as before mentioned ; and all traveling to be first and best class. 

In witness hereof to the within written memorandum of agreement we set hereunto om 
hand and seal. 

John Hall Wilton, Agent for Phineas T. Barnum, of New York. U. 
Jennt Lind. 
Julius Benedict. 
Giovanni Belletti. 

L. S. 
In S. 
L. S. 
L. S. 

In the presence of C. Achilling, Consul of His Majesty the King of Sweden and Norway. 

extract from a letter addressed to John Hall Wilton by Phineas T. Barnum, and referred 

to in paragraph No 4 of the annexed agreement: 

New York, November 6, 1849. 
Mr. J. Hall Wilton : 

Sir: In reply to your proposal to attempt a negotiation with Mile. Jenny Lind to visit 
t'aa United States professionally, I propose to enter into an arrangement with her to the 
fallowing effect : I will engage to pay all her expenses from Europe, provide for and pay for 
Oaa principal tenor, and one pianist, their salaries not exceeding together, one hundred aud 
fl:1y dollars per night; to support for her a carriage, two servants, and a friend to accom- 

Sjdjt her and superintend her finances. I will furthermore pay all and every expense apper- 
uiing to her appearance before the public, and give her hall of the gross receipts arising 
froui concerts or operas. I will engage to travel with her personally, and attend to the 
arrangements, provided she will undertake to give not less than eighty, nor more than one 
hundred and fifty concerts, or nights' performances. 

Phineas T. Barnum. 

I certify the above to be a true extract from the letter. J. H. Wilton 

I was at my Museum in Philadelphia when Wilton arrived in New York, Feb- 
ruary 19. 1850. He immediately telegraphed to me, in the cipher we had agreed 
upon, taat he had signed an engagement with Jenny Lind, by which she was to 
commence her concerts in America in the following September. I was somewhat 
startled by this sudden announcement; and feeling that the time to elapse before 
her ar-ival was so long that it would be policy to keep the engagement private 
for a cew months, I immediately telegraphed him not to mention it to any 
person, and that I would meet him the next day in New York. 


When we reflect how thoroughly Jenny Lind, her musical powers, her char- 
acter, and wonderful successes, were subsequently known by all classes in thh» 
country as well as throughout the civilized world, it is difficult to realize that, at 
the time this engagement was made, she was comparatively unknown on this sida 
the water. We can hardly credit the fact, that millions of persons in America 
had never heard of her, that other millions had merely read her name, but had 
no distinct idea of who or what she was. Only a small portion of the public were 
really aware of her great musical triumphs in the Old World, and this portion 
was confined almost entirely to musical people, travelers who had visited the 
Old World, and the conductors of the press. 

The next morning I started for New York. On arriving at Princeton we met 
the New York cars, and, purchasing the morning papers, I was surprised to find 
in them a full account of my engagement with Jenny Lind. This premature 
announcement could not be recalled, and I put the best face on the matter. 
Anxious to learn how this communication would strike the public mind, I 
informed the conductor, whom I well knew, that I had made an engagement with 
Jenny Lind, and that she would surely visit this country in the following August. 

"Jenny Lind! Is she a dancer ?" asked the conductor. 

I informed him who and what she was, but his question had chilled me as if his 
words were ice. Really, thought I, if this is all that a man in the capacity of a 
railroad conductor between Philadelphia and New York knows of the greatest 
songstress in the world, I am not sure that six months will be too long a time f oi 
me to occupy in enhghtening the public in regard to her merits. 

I had an interview with Wilton, and learned from him that, in accordance 
with the agreement, it would be requisite for me to place the entire amount stipu 
lated, §1S7,500, in the hands of the London bankers. I at once resolved to ratify 
the agreement, and immediately sent the necessary documents to Miss Lind and 
Messrs. Benedict and Belletti. 

I then began to prepare the public mind, through the newspapers, for th.* 
reception of the great songstress. How effectually this was done, is still within 
the remembrance of the American public. As a sample of the manner in which 
I accomplished my purpose, I present the following extract from my first letter, 
which appeared in the New York papers of February 22, 1850: 

"Perhaps I may not make any money by this enterprise; but I assure you that 
if I knew I should not make a farthing profit, I would ratify the engagement, so 
anxious am I that the United States should be visited by a lady whose vocal 
powers have never been approached by any other human being, and whose 
character is charity, simplicity, and goodness personified. 

" Miss Lind has great anxiety to visit America. She speaks of this country 
and its institutions in the highest terms of praise. In her engagement with me 
(which includes Havana), she expressly reserves the right to give charitable con- 
certs whenever she thinks proper. 

" Since her debut in England, she has given to the poor from her own private 
purse more than the whole amount which I have engaged to pay her, and the 
proceeds of concerts for charitable purposes in Great Britain, where she has sung 
gratuitously, have realized more than ten times that amount." 

After getting together all my available funds for the purpose of transmitting 
them to London in the shape of United States bonds, I found a considerable sum 
still lacking to make up the amount. I had some second mortgages which were 
perfectly good, but I could not negotiate them in Wall street. Nothing would 
answer there short of first mortgages on New York or Brooklyn city property. 


1 went to the president of the bank where I had done ah my business for eight 
years. I offered him, as security for a loan, niy second mortgages, and as an 
additional inducement, I proposed to make over to him my contract with Jenny 
Land, with a written guaranty that he should appoint a receiver, who, at my 
expense, should take charge of all the receipts over and above three thousand 
dollars per night, and appropriate them towards the payment of my loan. He 
laughed in my face, and said: "Mr. Barnum, it is generaUy believed in Wall 
street, that your engagement with Jenny Lind will ruin you. I do not think 
you will ever receive so much as three thousand dollars at a single concert." I 
was indignant at his want of appreciation, and answered him that I would not at 
that moment take $150,000 for my contract; nor would I. I found, upon further 
inquiry, that it was useless in Wall street to offer the "Nightingale " in exchange 
for Goldfinches. I finally was introdured to Mr. John L. Aspinwall, of the firm 
of Messrs. Howland & Aspinwall, and he gave me a letter of credit from his 
firm on Baring Brothers, for a large sum on collateral securities, which a spirit 
of genuine respect for my enterprise induced him to accept. 

After disposing of several pieces of property for cash, I footed up the various 
amounts, and still discovered myself five thousand dollars short. I felt that it 
was indeed " the last feather that breaks the camel's back." Happening casually 
to state my desperate case to the Rev. Abel C. Thomas, of Philadelphia, for many 
years a friend of mine, he promptly placed the requisite amount at my disposal 
I gladly accepted his proffered friendship, and felt that he had removed a moun- 
tain-weight from my shoulders. 



On "Wednesday morning, August 21, 1850, Jenny Lind and Messrs. Benedict 
and Belletti, set sail from Liverpool in the steamship Atlantic, in which I had 
long before engaged the necessary accommodations, and on board of which I had 
shipped a piano for their use. They were accompanied by my agent, Mr. Wilton, 
and also by Miss Ahmansen and Mr. Max Hjortzberg, cousins of Miss Lind, the 
latter being her secretary; also by her two servants, and the valet of Messra 
Benedict and Belletti. 

It was expected that the steamer would arrive on Sunday, September 1. but, 
determined to meet the songstress on her arrival whenever it might be, I vv«nt to 
Staten Island on Saturday, and slept at the hospitable residence of my friend 
Dr. A. Sidney Doane, who was at that time the Health Officer of the Port ol 
New York. A few minutes before twelve o'clock, on Sunday morning, thb 
Atlantic hove in sight, and immediately afterwards, through the kindness of my 
friend Doane, I was on board the ship, and had taken Jenny Lind by the hand. 

After a few moments' conversation, she asked me when and where I had heard 
her sing. 

" I never had the pleasure of seeing you before in my life," I replied 

11 How is it possible that you dared risk so much money on a person whom you 
never heard sing ? " she asked in surprise. 

"I risked it on your reputation, which in musical matters I wo. ' ~*mch rather 
trust than my own judgment," I replied 

I may as well state, that although I relied prominently upon Jenny Lind's 
reputation as a great musical artiste, I also took largely into my estimate of her 
success with all classes of the American public, her character for extraordinary 
benevolence and generosity. Without this peculiarity in her disposition, I m vbt 
would have dared make the engagement which I did, as I felt sure that i 
were multitudes of individuals in America who would be prompted to attend her 
concerts by this feeling alone. 

Thousands of persons covered the shipping and piers, and other thousands had 
congregated on the wharf at Canal street, to see her. The wildest enthusiasm 
prevailed as the steamer approached the dock. So great was the rush on a sloop 
near the steamer's berth, that one man, in his zeal to obtain a good view, acci- 
dentally tumbled overboard, amid the shouts of those near him, Miss Lind 
witnessed this incident, and was much alarmed. He was, however, soon rescued, 
after taking to himself a cold duck instead of securing a view of the Nightin,L;;i le. 
A bower of green trees, decorated with beautiful flags, was discovered on the 
wharf, together with two triumphal arches, on one of which was inscribed, 
" Welcome, Jenny Lind 1 " * The second was surmounted by the American eagle, 
and bore the inscription, "Welcome to America!" These decorations were not 
produced by magic, and I do not know that I can reasonably find fault with those 

* See Illustration, opposite. 



who suspected I had a hand in their erection. My private carriage was in wait- 
ing, and Jenny Land was escorted to it by Captain West. The rest of the musical 
party entered the carriage, and, mounting the box at the driver's side, I directed 
him to the Irving House. I took that seat as a legitimate advertisement, and my 
presence on the outside of the carriage aided those who filled the windows and 
sidewalks along the whole route, in coming to the conclusion that Jenny Lind 
had arrived. 

A reference to the journals of that day will show that never before had there 
been such enthusiasm in the city of New York, or indeed in America. Wit Inn 
ten minutes after our arrival at the Irving House, not less than twenty thousand 
persons had congregated around the entrance in Broadway, nor was the number 
diminished before nine o'clock in the evening. At her request, I dined with her 
that afternoon, and when, according to European custom, she prepared to pledge 
me in a glass of wine, she was somewhat surprised at my saying, "Miss Lind, I 
do not think you can ask any other favor on earth which I would not gladly 
grant; but I am a teetotaler, and must beg to be permitted to drink your health 
■^tid happiness in a glass of cold water." 

At twelve o'clock that night, she was serenaded by the New York Musical Fund 
Society, numbering, on that occasion, two hundred musicians. They were 
escorted to the Irving House by about three hundred firemen, in their red shirts, 
bearing torches. There was a far greater throng in the streets than there was 
even during the day. The calls for Jenny Lind were so vehement that I led her 
through a window to the balcony. The loud cheers from the crowds lasted for 
several minutes, before the serenade was permitted to proceed again. 

I have given the merest sketch of but a portion of the incidents of Jenny Lind's 
first day in America. For weeks afterwards the excitement was unabated. Her 
rooms were thronged by visitors, including the magnates of the land in both 
Church and State. The carriages of the wealthiest citizens could be seen in front 
of her hotel, at nearly all hours of the day, and it was with some difficulty that I 
prevented the " fashionables " from monopolizing her altogether, and thus, as I 
believed, sadly marring my interests by cutting her off from the warm sympa- 
thies she had awakened among the masses. Presents of all sorts were showered 
upon her. Milliners, mantua-makers, and shopkeepers vied with each other in 
calling her attention to their wares, of which they sent her many valuable speci- 
mens, delighted if, in return, they could receive her autograph acknowledgment. 
Songs, quadrilles and polkas were dedicated to her, and poets sung in her praise. 
We had Jenny Lind gloves, Jenny Lind bonnets, Jenny Lind riding hats, Jenny 
Lind shawls, mantillas, robes, chairs, sofas, pianos — in fact, everything was 
Jenny Lind. Her movements were constantly watched, and the moment her 
carriage appeared at the door, it was surrounded by multitudes, eager to catch a 
glimpse of the Swedish Nightingale. 

In looking over my "scrap-books" of extracts from the New York papers of 
that day, in which all accessible details concerning her were duly chronicled, it 
seems almost incredible that such a degree of enthusiasm should have existed. 
An abstract of the " sayings and doings " in regard to the Jenny Lind mania for the 
first ten days after her arrival, appeared in the London Times of Sept. 23, 1850, 
and, although it was an ironical "showing up" of the American enthusiasm, 
filling several columns, it was nevertheless a faithful condensation of facts which 
at this late day seem, even to myself, more like a dream than reality. 

Before her arrival I had offered $200 for a prize ode, "Greeting to America," 
to be sung by Jenny Lind at her first concert. Several hundred ' ' poems " were 

the nightingale is new york. 10? 

sent in from all parts of the United States an<l the Canaclas. The duties of the 
Prize Committee, in reading these effusions and making choice of the one mod 
worthy the prize, were truly arduous. The "offerings," with perhaps a iI</a.-u 
exceptions, were the merest doggerel trash. The prize was awarded to Bayard 
Taylor for the following ode: 



I greet with a full heart the Land of the West, 

Whose Banner of Stars o'er a world is unrolled; 
Whose empire o'ershadows Atlantic's wide breast, 

And opens to sunset its gateway of gold ! 
The land of the mountain, the land of the lake, 

And rivers that roll in magnificent tid< — 
Where the soul- of the aught; from slumber awake, 

And hallow the soil for whose freedom they died ! 

Thou Cradle of empire! though wide be the foam 

That severs the land of my father- and thee, 
I hear, from thy bosom, the welcome of home, 

Eor song has a home in the hearts of the Free ! 
And long as thy waters shall gleam in the sun, 

And Long as thy heroes remember their scars, 
Be the hands of thy children united as one, 

And Peace shed her light on thy Banner of Stars 1 

This award, although it gave general satisfaction, yet was met with disfavor 
by several disappointed poets, who, notwithstanding the decision of the com- 
mittee, persisted in believing and declaring their own productions to be the best. 
This state of feeling was doubtless, in part, the cause which led to the publication, 
about this time, of a witty pamphlet entitled "Barnuru's Parnassus; being Con 
udential Disclosures of the Prize Committee on the Jenny Lind song." 

It gave some capital hits in which the committee, the enthusiastic public, the 
Nightingale, and myself, were roundly ridiculed. The following is a fair speci- 
men from the work in question : 



When- to the common rest that crowns his days, 

Dusty and worn the tired pedestrian goes, 
What light is that whose wide o'erlooking blaze 

A sudden glory on his pathway throws? 

'Tis not the setting sun, whose drooping lid 

Closed on the weary world at half-past >ix; 
TiB not the rising moon, whose rays are hid 

Behind the city's sombre piles of bricks. 

It is the Drummond Light, that from the top 
Of Barnum's massive pile, sky-mingling there, 

Darts its quick gleam o'er every Bhadowed -hop. 
And gilds Broadway with unaccustomed glare. 

There o'er the sordid gloom, whose deepening track* 

Furrow the city'.- brow, the front oi 
Thy loltier light descend- on cabfl and hacks, 

And on two dozen different lines of stages! 

O twilight Sun. with thy far darting ray, 

Thou art a type of him whose tireless hands 

Hung thee on high to guide the stranger's way, 
Where, in its pride, his vast Museum stands. 


Him, who in search of wonder? new and strange, 
Grasps the wide skirts oi Nature's mystic robe 

Explores the circles of eternal change, 
And the dark chambers of the central globe. 

ne, from the reedy shores o( fabled Nile. 

Has brought, thick-ribbed and ancient afl old iron, 
That venerable beast, the crocodile, 

And many a skin of many a famous lion. 

Go lose thyself in those continuous halls, 
Where strays the lond papa with son and daughter: 

And all that charms or startles or appals, 
Thou shalt behold, and for a single quarter. 

Far from the Barcan deserts now withdrawn. 
There huge constrictors coil their scaly backs ; 

There, cased in glass, malignant and unshorn, 
Old murderers glare in sullenness and wax. 

There many a varied form the sight beguiles, 
In rusty broadcloth decked and shocking hat, 

And there the unwieldy Lambert sits and smiles, 
In the majestic plenitude ot fat. 

Or for thy gayer hours, the orang-outang 
Or ape salutes thee with his strange grimace, 

And in their shapes, stuffed as on earth they sprang, 
Thine individual being thou canst trace 1 

And joys the youth in life's green spring, who goes 
With the sweet babe and the gray-headed nurse, 

To see those Cosmoramic orbs disclose 
The varied beauties of the universe. 

And la<t, not least, the marvelous Ethiope, 

Changing his skin by preternatural skill, 
Whom every setting sun's diurnal slope 

Leaves whiter than the last, and whitening still. 

All that of monstrous, scaly, strange and queer. 

Has come from out the womb of earliest time, 
Thou hast, O Barnum, in thy keeping here, 

Nor is this all— for triumphs more sublime 

Await thee yet! 1, Jenny Lind, who reigned 
Sublimely throned, the imperial queen of son^. 

Wooed by thy golden harmonies, have deigned 
Captive to join the heterogeneous throng. 

Sustained by an unfaltering trust in coin, 
Dealt from thy hand, O thou illustrious man, 

Gladly I heard the summons come to join 
Myself the innumerable caravan. 

Besides the foregoing, this pamphlet contained eleven poems, most of which 
abounded in wit. 1 have room but for a single stanza. The poet speaks of the 
various curiosities in the Museum, and, representing me as still searching for 
further novelties, makes me address the Swedish Nightingale as follows: 

" So Jenny, come along! you're just the card for me. 
And quit these kings and queens, for the country of the free : 
They'll welcome you with speeches, and serenades, and rockets, 
And you will touch their hearts, and I will tap their pockets ; 
And if between us both the public isn't skinned, 
Why, my name isn't Barnum, nor your name Jenny Lind 1" 


Among the many complimentary poems sent in, was the following, by Mi's, L. 
H. Sigourney, which that distinguished writer enclosed in a letter to me, with 
the request that I should hand it to Miss Lind: 



Blest must their vocation be 
Who, with tones of melody, 
Charm the discord and the strife 
And the railroad rash of life, 
And with Orphean magic move 
Souls inert to life and love. 
But there's one who doth inherit 
Angel gift and angel spirit, 
Bidding tides of gladness flow 
Through the realms of want and woe; 
'Mid lone age and misery's lot. 
Kindling pleasures long forgot, 
Seeking minds oppressed with night, 
And on darkness shedding light, " 
She the seraph's speech doth know, 
She hath done their deeds below ; 
So, when o'er this misty strand 
She shall clasp their waiting hand, 
They will fold her to their breast, 
More a sister than a guest. 

Jenny Land's first concert was fixed to come off at Castle Garden, on Wednes- 
day evening, September 11th, and most of the tickets were sold at auction on the 
Saturday and Monday previous to the concert. John N. G-enin, the hatter, laid 
the foundation of his fortune by purchasing the first ticket at $22.5. It has been 
extensively reported that Mr. Genin and I are brothers-in-law, but our only rela- 
tions are those of business and friendship. The proprietors of the Garden saw 
fit to make the usual charge of one shilling to all persons who entered the premises, 
yet three thousand people were present at the auction. One thousand tickets 
were sold at auction ou the first morning for an aggregate sum of 810,141. 

On the Tuesday after her arrival, I informed Miss Lind that I wished to make 
a slight alteration in our agreement. " What is it?" she asked in surprise. 

"I am convinced," I replied, "that our enterprise will be much more success- 
ful than either of us anticipated. I wish, therefore, to stipulate that you shall 
receive not only 81,000 for each concert, besides all the expenses, as heretofore 
agreed on, but after taking 8-5,500 per night for expenses and my services, the 
balance shall be equally divided between us. 

Jenny looked at me with astonishment. She could not comprehend my propo- 
sition. After I had repeated it, and she fully understood its import, she cordially 
grasped me* by the hand, and exclaimed, "Mr. Bamum, you are a gentleman of 
honor; you are generous; it is just as Mr. Bates told me; I will sing for you as 
long as you please; I will sing for you in America — in Europe — anywhere! " 

On Tuesday, September 10th, I informed Miss Lind that, judging by present 
appearances, her portion of the proceeds of the first concert would amount to 
$10,000. She immediately resolved to devote every dollar of it to charity; and, 
sending for Mayor Woodhull, she acted under his and my advice in selecting the 
various institutions among which she wished the amount to be distributed. 

My arrangements of the concert-room were very complete. The great 
parterre and gallery of Castle Garden were divided by imaginary lines into 
four compartments, each of which was designated by a lamp of a different coloi 
The tickets were printed in colore corresponding with the location which the 


holders were to occupy, and one hundred ushers, with rosettes and bearing 
wands ripped with ribbons of the several hues, enabled every individual to find 
his or her seat without the slightest difficulty. Every seat was of course num- 
bered in color to correspond with the check, which each person retained after 
giving up an entrance ticket at the door. Thus, tickets, checks, lamps, rosettes, 
wands, and even the seat numbers were all in the appropriate colors to designate 
the different departments. These arrangements were duly advertised, and every 
particular was also printed upon each ticket. In order to prevent confusion, the 
doors were opened at five o'clock, while the concert did not commence until eight. 
The consequence was, that although about five thousand persons were present at 
the first concert, their entrance was marked with as much order and quiet as was 
ever witnessed in the assembling of a congregation at church. These precautions 
were observed at all the concerts given throughout the country under my admin- 
istration, and the good order which always prevailed was the subject of number- 
less encomiums from the public and the press. 

The reception of Jenny Lind on her first appearance, in point of enthusiasm, 
was probably never before equalled. As Mr. Benedict led her towards the foot- 
Lights, the entire audience rose to their feet and welcomed her with three cheers, 
accompanied by the waving of thousands of hats and handkerchiefs. This was 
pci i-u^a me largest audience to which Jenny Lind had ever sung. She was 
evidently much agitated, but the orchestra commenced, and before she had sung 
a dozen notes of " Casta Diva," she began to recover her self-possession, and long 
before the scena was concluded, she was as calm as if she was in her own draw- 
ing-room. Towards the last portion of the cavatina, the audience were so 
completely carried away by their feelings, that the remainder of the air was 
drowned in a perfect tempest of acclamation. Enthusiasm had been wrought to 
its highest pitch, but the musical powers of Jenny Lind exceeded all the brilliant 
■inticipations which had been formed, and her triumph was complete. At the 
conclusion of the concert Jenny Lind was loudly called for, and was obliged to 
appear three times before the audience could be satisfied. Then they called 
vociferously for "Barnum," and I reluctantly responded to their demand. 

On this first night, Mr. Julius Benedict firmly established with the American 
people his European reputation, as a most accomplished conductor and musical 
composer; while Signor Belletti inspired an admiration which grew warmer and 
deeper in the minds of the public, to the end of his career in this country. 

The Rubicon was passed. The successful issue of the Jenny Lind enterprise 
was established. I think there were a hundred men in New York, the day after 
her first concert, who would have willingly paid me $200,000 for my contract. I 
received repeated offers for an eighth, a tenth, or a sixteenth, equivalent to that 
price. But mine had been the risk, and I was determined mine sfaould be the 

The amount of money received for tickets to the first concert was $17,864.05, 
As this made Miss Lind's portion too small to realize the $10,000 which had been 
announced as devoted to charity, I proposed to divide equally with her the 
proceeds of the first two concerts, and not count them at all in our regular 
engagement. Accordingly, the second concert was given September 13th, and 
the receipts, amounting to $14,203.03, were, like those of the first concert, equally 
divided. Our third concert, but which, as between ourselves, we called the " first 
regular concert," was given Tuesday, September 17, 1850. 



The first great assembly at Castle Garden was not gathered by Jenny Lind's 
musical genius and powers alone. She was effectually introduced to the public 
before they had seen or heard her. She appeared hi the presence of a jury 
already excited to enthusiasm in her behalf. She more than met their expert a - 
tions, and all the means I had adopted to prepare the way were thus abundantly 

As a manager, I worked by setting others to work. Biographies of the 
Swedish Nightingale were largely circulated; "Foreign Correspondence " glori- 
fied her talents and triumphs by narratives of her benevolence; and "printer's 
ink " was invoked in every possible form, to put and keep Jenny Lind before the 
people. I am happy to say that the press generally echoed the voice of her 
praise from first to last. I could fill many volumes with the printed extracts 
which are nearly all of a similar tenor to the following unbought, unsolicited 
editorial article, which appeared in the New York Herald of Sept. 10, LS50 (the 
day before the first concert given by Miss Lind in the United States) : 

"Jenny Lind and the American People.— What ancient monarch was he, either in 
history or in fable, who offered half his kingdom (.the price of box-tickets and choice 
seats in those days) for the invention of an original sensation, or the discovery of a fresh 
pleasure? That sensation — that pleasure which royal power in the Old World failed to dip- 
cover — has been called into existence at a less price, by Mr. Barnum, a plain republican, 
and is now about to be enjoyed by the sovereigns of the Nww World. 

"Jenny Lind, the most remarkable phenomenon in the musical art which has for the .ast 
century flashed across the horizon of the Old World, is now among us, and will make her 
debut to-morrow night to a house of nearly ten thousand listeners, yielding in proceeds by 
auction, a sum of forty or fifty thousand dollars. For the last ten days our musical report- 
ers have furnished our readers with every matter connected with her arrival in this 
metropolis, and the steps adopted by Mr. Barnum in preparation for her first appearance. 
The proceedings of yesterday, consisting of the sale of the remainder of the tickets, and 
the astonishing, the wonderful sensation produced at her first rehearsal on the few persons, 
critics in musical art, who were admitted on the occasion, will be found elsewhere in our 

"'We concur in everything that has been said by our musical reporter, describing her 
extraordinary genius — her unrivalled combination of power and art. Nothing has been 
exaggerated, not an iota. Three years ago, more or less, we heard Jenny Lind on many 
occasions, when she made the first great sensation in Europe, by her debut, at the London 
Opera House. Then she was great in power — in art — in genius ; now she is greater in all. 
We speak from experience and conviction. Then she astonished, and pleased, and fascin- 
ated the thousands of the British aristocracy, now she will fascinate, and please, and 
delight, and almost make mad with musical excitement, the mill ons of the American 
democracy. To-morrow night, this new sensation— this fresh movement— this excitement 
excelling all former excitements— will be called into existence, when she pours out the 
notes of Casta Diva, and exhibits her astonishing powers — her wonderlul peculiarities, 
that seem more of heaven than of earth — more of a voice from eternity, than Irom the 
lips of a human being. 

" We speak soberly — seriously — calmly. The public expectation has run very high for 
the last week— higher than at any former period of our past musical annals. But high as it 
has risen, the reality — the fact — the concert — the voice and power of Jenny Lind — will far 
surpass all past expectations. Jenny Lind is a wonder, and a prodigy in song— and no 

After the first month the business became thoroughly systematized, and by the 
help of such agents as my faithful treasurer, L. C. Stewart, and the indefatiga- 
ble Le Grand Smith, my personal labors were materially relieved ; but from the 



first concert on the 11th of September, 1850, until the ninety-third concert on the 
9th of June 1851, a space of nine months, I did not know a waking moment that 
was entirely free from anxiety. 

I could not hope to be exempted from trouble and perplexity in managing an 
enterprise which depended altogether on popular favor, and which involved great 
consequences to myself. Miss Lind did not dream, nor did any one else, of the 
unparalleled enthusiasm that would greet her; and the first immense assembly at 
Castle Garden somewhat prepared her, I suspect, to listen to evil advisers. It 
would seem that the terms of our revised contract were sufficiently liberal to her 
and sufficiently hazardous to myself, to justify the expectation of perfectly hon- 
orable treatment; but certain envious intermeddlers appeared to think differently. 
"Do you not see, Miss Lind, that Mr. Barnum is coining money out of your 
genius? " said they; of course she saw it, but the high-minded Swede despised 
and spumed the advisers who recommended her to repudiate her contract with 
me at all hazards, and take the enterprise into her own hands — possibly to put it 
into theirs. I, however, suffered much from the unreasonable interference of her 
lawyer, Mr. John Jay. Benedict and Belletti behaved like men, and Jenny 
afterwards expressed to me her regret that she had for a moment listened to the 
vexatious exactions of her legal counselor. 

To show the difficulties with which I had to contend thus early in my enter- 
prise, I copy a letter which I wrote, a little more than one month after Miss Lind 
commenced her engagement with me, to my friend Mr. Joshua Bates, of Messrs. 
Baring, Brothers & Co., London: 

New York, Oct. 23, 1850. 

Joshua Bates, Esq. : 

Dmr Sir ; I take the liberty to write you a few lines, merely to say that we are getting 
along as well as could reasonably be expected. In this country you are aware that the 
rapid accumulation of wealth always creates much envy, and envy soon augments to 
malice. Such are the elements at work to a limited degree against myself, and although 
Miss Lind, Benedict and myself have never, as yet. had the slightest feelings between us, 
to my knowledge, except those of friendship, yet I cannot well see how this can long con- 
tinue in the face of the fact that, nearly every day they allow persons (some moving in the 
first classes of society) to approach them, and spend hours in traducing me: even her 
attorney, Mr. John -Jay. has been so blind to her interests, as to aid in poisoning her mind 
against me, by pouring into her ears the most silly twaddle, all of which amounts to noth- 
ing and less than nothing— such as the regret that 1 was a showman, exhibitor of Tom 
Thumb, etc.. etc. 

Without the elements which I possess for business, as well as my knowledge of human 
nature, acquired in catering for the public, the result of her concerts here would not have 
been pecuniarily one-half as much as the present— and such men as the Hon. Edward 
Everett. G. G. Howland. and others, will tell you that there js no charlatanism or lack of 
dignity in my management of these concerts. I .know as well as any person, that the 
merits of Jenny Lind are the best capital to depend upon to secure public favor, and I have 
thus far acted on this knowledge. Everything which money and attention can procure for 
their comfort, they have, and I am glad to know that they are satisfied on this score. All 
I fear is, that these continual backbitings, if listened to by her, will, by and by, produce a 
feeling of distrust or regret, which will lead to unpleasant results. 

The fact is. her mind ought to be as free as air, and she herself as free as a bird, and 
being satisfied of my probity and ability, she should turn a deaf ear to all envious and 
malevolent attacks on me. I have hoped that by thus briefly stating to you the facts in the 
case, you miixht be induced for her interests as well as mine to drop a line of advice to Mr. 
Benedict and another to Mr. Jay on this subject. If I am asking or expecting too much. I 
pray you to not give it a thought, for I fee] myself fully able to carry through my rights alone, 
although I should deplore nothing so much as to be obliged to do so in a feeling of unfriend- 
liness/ I have risked much money on the issue of this speculation— it has proved success- 
ful, lam full of perplexity and anxiety, and labor continually for success, and I cannot 
allow ignorance or envy to rob me of the fruits of my enterprise. 

Sincerely and gratefully, yours, P. T. Barntjm. 

Jenny Lind's character for benevolence became so generally known, that her 
door was beset by persons asking charity, and she was in the receipt, while in the 


principal cities, of numerous letters, aU on the same subject. I knew of many 
instances in which she gave sums of money to applicants, varying in amount 
from $20, $50, $500, to $1,000, and in one instance she gave $5,000 to a Swedish 

The night after Jenny's arrival in Boston, a display of fireworks was given in 
her honor, in front of the Revere House, after which followed a beautiful torch- 
light procession by the Germans of that city. 

On her return from Boston to New York, Jenny, her companion, and Messi-s 
Benedict and Belletti, stopped at Iranistan, my residence hi Bridgeport, where tin y 
remained until the following day. The morning after her arrival, she took my an 1 1 
and proposed a promenade through the grounds. She seemed much pleased, and 
said, "lam astonished that you should have left such a beautiful place for the 
sake of traveling through the country with me." 

The same day she told me hi a playful mood, that she had heard a most extra- 
ordinary report. "I have heard that you and I are about to be married," said 
she; "now how could such an absurd report ever have originated? " 

" Probably from the fact that we are 'engaged,'" I replied. She enjoyed a 
joke, and laughed heartily. 

"Do you know, Mr. Barnum," said she, " that if you had not built Iranistan, I 
should never have come to America for you?" 

I expressed my surprise, and asked her to explain. 

" I had received several applications to visit the United States," she continued, 
"but I did not much like the appearance of the applicants, nor did I relish the 
idea of crossing 3,000 miles of ocean; so I declined them all. But the first letter 
which Mr. Wilton, your agent, addressed me, was written upon a sheet headed 
with a beautiful engraving of Iranistan. It attracted my attention. I said to 
myself, a gentleman who has been so successful in his business as to be able to build 
and reside in such a palace cannot be a mere ' adventurer.' So I wrote to your 
agent, and consented to an interview, which I should have declined, if I had not 
seen the picture of Iranistan!" 

" That, then, fully pays me for building it," I replied. 

Jenny land always desired to reach a place in which she was to sing, without 
having the time of her arrival known, thus avoiding the excitement of promiscu- 
ous crowds. As a manager, however, I knew that the interests of the enterprise 
depended in a great degree upon these excitements. 

On reaching Philadelphia, a large concourse of persons awaited the approach of 
the steamer which conveyed her. With difficulty we pressed through the crowd, 
and were followed by many thousands to Jones's Hotel. The street in front of 
the building was densely packed by the populace, and poor Jenny, who was suf- 
fering from a severe headache, retired to her apartments. I tried to induce the 
crowd to disperse, but they declared they would not do so until Jenny Lind should 
appear on the balcony. I would not disturb her, and, knowing that the tumult 
might prove an annoyance to her, I placed her bonnet and shawl upon her com- 
panion, Miss Ahmansen, and led her out on the balcony. She bowed gracefully 
to the multitude, who gave her three hearty cheers and quietly dispersed. Miss 
Lind was so utterly averse to anything like deception, that we never ventured to 
tell her the part which her bonnet and shawl had played in the absence of theii 

Jenny was in the habit of attending church whenever she could do so without 
attracting notice. She always preserved her nationality, also, by inquiring out 


and attending Swedish churches wherever they could be found. She gave 
$1,000 to a Swedish church in Chicago. 

My eldest daughter, Caroline, and her friend, Mrs. Lyman, of Bridgeport, 
accompanied me on the tour from New York to Havana, and thence home, via 
New Orleans and the Mississippi. 

We were at Baltimore on the Sabbath, and my daughter, accompanying a 
friend, who resided in the city, to church, took a seat with her in the choir, and 
joined in the singing. A number of the congregation, who had seen Caroline 
with me the day previous, and supposed her to be Jenny Lind, were yet laboring 
under the same mistake, and it was soon whispered through the church that 
Jenny Lind was in the choir! The excitement was worked to its highest pitch 
when my daughter rose as one of the musical group. Every ear was on the alert 
to catch the first notes of her voice, and when she sang, glances of satisfaction 
passed through the assembly. Caroline, quite unconscious of the attention she 
attracted, continued to sing to the end of the hymn. Not a note was lost upon 
the ears of the attentive congregation. " What an exquisite singer ! n " Heavenly 
sounds!" "I never heard the like!" and similar expressions were whispered 
through the church. 

At the conclusion of the services, my daughter and her friend found the passage- 
way to their carriage blocked by a crowd who were anxious to obtain a nearer 
view of the " Swedish Nightingale." The pith of the joke is that we have never 
discovered that my daughter has any extraordinary claims as a vocalist. 

Our orchestra in New York consisted of sixty. When we started on our south - 
ner tour, we took with us permanently as the orchestra, twelve of the best 
musicians we could select, and in New Orleans augmented the force to sixteen. 
We increased the number to thirty-five, forty or fifty, as the case might be, by 
choice of musicians residing where the concerts were given. On our return to 
New York from Havana, we enlarged the orchestra to one hundred performers. 

The morning after our arrival in Washington, President Fillmore called, and 
left his card, Jenny being out. When she returned and found the token of his 
attention, she was in something of a flurry. " Come," said she, "we must call 
on the President immediately." 

" Why so ?" I inquired. 

"Because he has called on me, and of course that is equivalent to a command 
for me to go to his house." 

I assured her that she might make her mind at ease, for whatever might be the 
custom with crowned heads, our Presidents were not wont to "command" the 
movements of strangers, and that she would be quite in time if she returned his 
call the next day. She was accompanied to the "White House " by Messrs. Bene- 
dict, Belletti and myself, and several happy hours were spent in the private circle 
of the President's family. 

Both concerts in Washington were attended by the President and his family, 
and every member of the Cabinet. I noticed, also, among the audience, Henry 
Clay, Benton, Foote, Cass and General Scott, and nearly every member of Con- 
gress. On the following moniing, Miss Lind was called upon by Mr. Webster, 
Mr. Clay, General Cass, and Colonel Benton, and all parties were evidently 
gratified. I had introduced Mr. Webster to her in Boston. Upon hearing one of 
her wild mountain songs in New York, and also in Washington, Mr. Webster 
signified his approval by rising, drawing himself up to his full height, and making 
a profound bow. Jenny was delighted by this expression of praise from the great 
statesman. When I first introduced Miss Lind to Mi*. Webster, at the Revera 


House, in Boston sbe was greatly impressed with his manners and conversation, 
and after his departure, walked up and down i -xcitement, 

exclaiming: "Ahi Mr. Barnuin, that is a man; i have never before seen such a 

We visited the Capitol while both Houses were in session. Miss Lind took the 
arm of Hon C. F. Cleveland, representative from Connecticut, and was by him 
escorted into various parts of the Capitol and the grounds, with all of which she 
was much pleased 

During the week I was invited with Miss Lind and her immediate friends, to 
visit Mount Vernon, with Colonel Washington, the then proprietor, and Mr. 
Seaton, ex-Mayor of Washington, and editor of the Intelligencer. Colone] 
Washington chartered a steamboat for the purpose. We were landed a short 
distance from the tomb, which we iirst visited. Proceeding to the house, we were 
introduced to Mrs. Washington, and several other ladies. Much interest was 
manifested by Miss Lind in examining the mementoes of the great man whose 
home it had been. A beautiful collation was spread out and arranged in fine 
taste. Before leaving, Mi's. Washington presented Jenny with a book from the 
library, with the name of Washington written by his own hand. She was much 
overcome at receiving this present, called me aside, and expressed her desire to 
give something in return. " I have nothing with me," she said, "excepting this 
watch and chain, and I will give that if you think it will be acceptable." I knew 
the watch was very valuable, and told her that so costly a present would not be 
expected, nor would it be proper. "The expense is nothing, compared to the 
value of that book," she replied, with deep emotion; "but as the watch was a 
present from a near friend, perhaps I should not give it away." Jenny Lind, I 
am sure, never forgot the pleasurable emotions of that day. 

The voyage from Wilmington to Charleston was an exceedingly rough and 
perilous one. We were about thirty-six hours in making the passage, the usual 
time being seventeen. We arrived safely at last, and I was grieved to learn that 
for twelve hours the loss of the steamer had been considered certain, and had 
even been announced by telegraph in the Northern cities. 

We remained at Charleston about ten days, to take the steamer " Isabella" on 
her regular trip to Havana. Jenny had been through so much excitement at the 
North, that she determined to have quiet here, and therefore declined receiving 
any calls. One young lady, the daughter of a wealthy planter near Augusta, 
was so determined upon seeing her in private, that she paid one of the servants 
to allow her to put on a cap and white apron, and carry in the tray for Jenny's 
tea. I afterwards told Miss Lind of the joke, and suggested that after such an 
evidence of admiration, she should receive a call from the young lady. 

"It is not admiration — it is only curiosity," replied Jenny, "and I will not 
encourage such folly." 

Christmas was at hand, and Jenny Lind determined to honor it in the way she 
had often done in Sweden She had a beautiful Christinas tree privately pre- 
pared, and from its boughs depended a variety of presents for members of the 
company. These gifts were encased in paper, with the names of the recipients 
written on each. 

After spending a pleasant evening in her drawing-room, she invited us into the 
parlor, where the "surprise" awaited us. Each person commenced opening the 
packages bearing his or her address, and although every individual had one or 
more pretty presents, she had prepared a joke for each. Mr. Benedict, for instance, 
took off wrapper after wrapper from one of his packages, which at first was as 


large as his head, but after having removed some forty coverings of paper, it was 
reduced to a size smaller than his hand, and the removal of the last envelope 
exposed to view a piece of cavendish tobacco. One of my presents, choicely 
wrapped in a dozen coverings, was a jolly young Bacchus in Parian marble, 
inter tied as a pleasant hit at my temperance principles! 

Th3 night before New Year's day was spent in her apartment with great hilarity. 
Enlivened by music, singing, dancing and story-telling, the hours glided swiftly 
awaj . Miss Lind asked me if I would dance with her. I told her my education 
had been neglected in that line, and that I had never danced in my life. " That 
is all the better," said she; " now dance with me in a cotillion. I am sure you 
can do it." She was a beautiful dancer, and I never saw her laugh more heartily 
than she did at my awkwardness. She said she would give me the credit of being 
the poorest dancer she ever saw ! 

I had arranged with a man in New York to transport furniture to Havana, 
provide a house, and board Jenny Lind and our immediate party during our stay. 
When we arrived, we found the building converted into a semi-hoteL and the 
apartments were anything but comfortable. Jenny was vexed. Soon after din- 
ner, she took a volante and an interpreter, and drove into the suburbs. She was 
absent four horn's. Whither or why she had gone, none of us knew. At length 
she returned and informed us that she had hired a commodious furnished house 
in a delightful location outside the walls of the city, and invited us all to go and 
live with her during our stay in Havana, and we accepted the invitation. She 
was now freed from all annoyances; her time was her own, she received no calls, 
went and came when she pleased, had no meddlesome advisers about her, legal or 
otherwise, and was as merry as a cricket. We had a large court-yard in the rear 
of the house, and here she would come and romp and run, sing and laugh, like a 
young school-girl. " Now, Mr. Barnum, for another game of ball," she would 
say half a dozen times a day; whereupon, she would take an india-rubber ball, 
(of which she had two or three), and commence a game of throwing and catching, 
which would be kept up until, being completely tired out, I would say, " I give it 
up." Then her rich, musical laugh would be heard ringing through the house, as 
she exclaimed, " Oh, Mr. Barnum, you are too fat and too lazy; you cannot stand 
it to play ball with me ! " 

Her celebrated countrywoman, Miss Frederika Bremer, spent a few days with 
us very pleasantly, and it is difficult to conceive of a more delightf ul month than 
was passed by the entire party at Jenny Land's house in the outskirts of Havana. 



Soon after arriving in Havana, 1 discovered that a strong prejudice existed 
against our musical enterprise. I might rather say that the Habaneros, not 
accustomed to the high figure which tickets had commanded in the Status, 
were determined on forcing me to adopt their opera prices; whereas I paid one 
thousand dollars per night for the Tacon Opera House, and other expenses being 
in proportion, I was determined to receive remunerating prices or give no con- 
certs. They attended the concert, but were determined to show the great e 
stress no favor. I perfectly understood this feeling in advance, but studiously 
kept all knowledge of it from ]SIiss Lind. I went to the first concert, therefore, 
with some misgivings in regard to her reception. The following, which I a >\>y 
from the Havana correspondence of the New York Tribune, gives a correct 
account of it: 

" Jenny Lind soon appeared, led on by Signor Belletti. Some three or fonr hundred per 
sons clapped their hands at her appearance, but this token of approbation was instantlj 
silenced by at least two thousand five hundred decided hisses. Thus having settled the 
matter that there should be no forestalling of public opinion, and that i;' applause was 
given to Jenny Lind in that house it should first be incontestably earned, the most solemn 
silence prevailed. I have heard the Swedi-h Nightingale often in Europe as well as in 
America, and have ever noticed a distinct tremulousness attending her first appearance in 
any city. Indeed this feeling was plainly manifested in her countenance as she neared the 
foot-lights; but when she witnessed the kind of reception in store for her — so different 
from anything she had reason to expect — her counteuance changed in an instant to a 
haughty self-posses-ion, her eyes flashed defiance, and, becoming immovable as a statue. 
she stood there perfectly calm and beautiful. S ed that she now had an o 

to pass and a victory to gain worthy of her powers. In a moment her eye scanned the 
immense audience, the music began and then followed — how can I describe it f — such 
heavenly strains as I verily believe mortal never breathed except Jenny Lind, and mortal 
never heard except from her lips. Some of the oldest Castilians kept a frown upon their 
brow and a curling sneer upon their lips ; their ladies, however, and most of the audience 
began to look surprised. The gushing melody flowed on, increasing in beauty and glory. 
The c<iballero8, the tenora* and senoritas began to look at each other; nearly all. however, 
kept their teeth clenched and their lips closed, evidently determined to resist to the last. 
The torrent flowed deeper and faster, the lark flew higher and higher, the melody grew 
richer and grander; still every lip was compres-ed. By and by, as t he rich notes came 
dashing in river- upon our enraptured ears, one poor critic involuntarily whispered a ' hrava.' 
Tlii-* outburst ing of the soul was instantly hissed down. The stream of harmony roll 
till, at trie close, it made a c!ean sweep of every obstacle, and carried all before* it. Not a 
vestige of opposition remained, but such a tremendous shout of applause as went up I 
never before heard. 

•' The triumph was most complete. And how was Jenny Lind affected? She who stood 
a few moments previous like adamant, now trembled like a reed in the wind before the 
storm of enthusiasm which her own simple notes had produced. Tremblingly, slowly, and 
almost bowing her face to the ground, she withdrew. The roar and applause of vi 
increa-ed. "Encore/ encore : encore!' 1 came from every lip. She again appeared, anil 
courtesying low, again withdrew ; but again, airain and a£ain did they call her out and at 
every appearance the thunders of applause rang louder and louder. Thus five times was 
Jenny Lind called out to receive their unanimous and deafening plaudits." 

I ca n not express what my feelings were as I watched this scene from the dress 
circle. Poor Jenny! I deeply sympathized with her when I heard that first 
hiss. I indeed observed the resolute bearing which she assumed, but was appre- 
hensive of the result. When I witnessed her triumph, I could not restrain the 



tears of joy that rolled down my cheeks; and rushing through a private box, I 
reached the stage just as she was withdrawing after the fifth encore. "God 
bless you, Jenny, you have settled them! " I exclaimed. 

"Are you satisfied?" said she, throwing her arms around my neck. She, too, 
was crying with joy, and ne /er before did she look so beautiful in my eyes as on 
that evening. 

One of the Havana papers, notwithstanding the great triumph, continued to 
cry out for low prices. This induced many to absent themselves, expecting 
soon to see a reduction. It had been understood that we would give twelve 
concerts in Havana; but when they saw after the fourth concert, which was 
devoted to charity, that no more were announced, they became uneasy. Com- 
mittees waited upon us requesting more concerts, but we peremptorily declined. 
Some of the leading Dons, among whom was Count Penalver, then offered to 
guarantee us $25, 000 for three concerts. My reply was, that there was not money 
enough on the island of Cuba to induce me to consent to it. 

I found my little Italian plate-dancer, Vivalla, in Havana. He called on me 
frequently. He was in great distress, having lost the use of kis limbs on the left 
side of his body by paralysis. He was thus unable to earn a livelihood, although 
he still kept a performing dog, which turned a spinning-wheel and performed some 
curious tricks. One day as I was passing him out of the front gate, Miss Lind 
inquired who he was. I briefly recounted to her his history. She expressed deep 
interest in his case, and said something should be set apart for him in the benefit 
which she was about to give for charity. Accordingly, when the benefit came 
off, Miss Land appropriated 6500 to him. and I made the necessary arrangements 
for his return to his friends in Italy. At the same benefit $4,000 were distributed 
between two hospitals and a convent. 

A few mornings after the benefit our bell was rung, and the servant announced 
that I was wanted. I went to the door and found a large procession of children, 
neatly dressed and bearing banners, attended by ten or twelve priests, arrayed 
in their rich and flowing robes. I inquired their business, and was informed that 
they had come to see Miss Lind. to thank her in person for her benevolence. I 
took their message, and informed Miss Lind that the leading priests of the con- 
vent had come in great state to see and thank her. "I will not see them," she 
replied; "they have nothing to thank me for. If I have done good, it is no more 
than my duty, and it is my pleasure. I do not deserve their thanks, and I will 
not see them." I returned her answer, and the leaders of the grand procession 
went away in disappointment. 

The same day Vivalla called, and brought her a basket of the most luscious 
fruit that he could procure. The little fellow was very happy and extremely 
grateful. Miss Lind had gone out for a ride. 

"God bless her! I am so happy; she is such a good lady. I shall see my broth- 
ers and sisters again. Oh, she is a very good lady," said poor Vivalla, overcome 
by his feelings. He begged me to thank her for him, and give her the fruit. As 
he was passing out of the door, he hesicated a moment, and then said, "Mr. 
Barnum I should like so much to have the good lady see my dog turn a wheel; 
it is very nice; he can spin very good. Shah I bring the dog and wheel for her? 
She is such a good lady, I wish to please her very much." I smiled, and told 
him she would not care for the dog: that he was quite welcome to the money, 
and that she refused to see the priests from the convent that morning, because she 
never received thanks for fa vol's. 


When Jenny came in I gave her the fruit, and laughingly told her that Vivalla 
wished to show her how his performing dog could turn a spinning- wheeL 

"Poor man, poor man, do let him come; it is all the good creature can do for 
me," exclaimed Jenny, and the tears flowed thick and fast down her cheeks. " I 
like that, I like that," she continued, "do let the poor creature come and bring 
his dog. It will make him so happy." 

I confess it made me happy, and I exclaimed, for my heart was full, " God 
bless you, it will make him cry for joy; he shall come to-morrow." 

I saw Vivalla the same evening, and delighted him with the intelligence that 
Jenny would see his dog perform the next day, at four o'clock precisely.* 

"I will be punctual," said Vivalla, in a voice trembling with emotion; but I 
was sure she would like to see my dog perform." 

For full half an hour before the time appointed did Jenny Lind sit in her win- 
dow on the second floor and watch for Vivalla and his dog. A few minutes 
before the appointed hour, she saw him coming. "Ah, here he comes! here he 
comes! " she exclaimed in delight, as she ran down stairs and opened the door to 
admit him. A negro boy was bringing the small spinning-wheel, while Vivalla 
led the dog. Handing the boy a silver coin, she motioned him away, and taking 
the wheel in her arms, she said, "This is very kind of you to come with your 
dog. Follow me. I will carry the wheel up stairs." Her servant offered to take 
the wheel, but no, she would let no one carry it but herself. She called us all up 
to her parlor, and for one full hour did she devote herself to the happy Italian. 
She went down on her knees to pet the dog and to ask Vivalla all sorts of questions 
about his performances, his former course of life, his friends in Italy, and his 
present hopes and determinations. Then she sang and played for him, gave him 
some refreshments, finally insisted on carrying his wheel to the door, and her 
servant accompanied Vivalla to his boarding-house. 

Poor Vivalla! He was probably never so happy before, but his enjoyment did 
not exceed that of Miss Lind. That scene alone would have paid me for all my 
labors during the entire musical campaign. A few months later, however, the 
Havana correspondent of the New York Herald announced the death of Vivalla 
and stated that the poor Italian's last words were about Jenny Lind and Mr. 

In the party which accompanied me to Havana, was Mr. Henry Bennett, who 
formerly kept Peale's Museum in New York, afterwards managing the same 
establishment for me when I purchased it, and he was now with me in the 
capacity of a ticket-taker. He was as honest a man as ever lived, and a good 
deal of a wag. I remember his going through the market once and rxuming 
across a decayed actor who was reduced to tending a market stand; Bennett 
hailed him with "Hallo! what are you doing here; what are you keeping that 
old turkey for?" 

"CM for a profit," replied the actor. 

"Prophet, prophet!" exclaimed Bennett, "patriarch, you mean!" 

With all his waggery he was subject at times to moods of the deepest despond- 
ency, bordering on insanity. Madness ran in his family. His brother, in a fit of 
frenzy, had blown his brains out. Henry himself had twice attempted his own 
Life while in my employ in New York. Some time after our present journey to 
Havana, I sent him to London. He conducted my business precisely as I 
directed, writing up his account with me correctly to a penny. Then handing it 

* See Illustration, page 120. 


to a mutual friend with directions to give it to me when I arrived in London the 
following week, he went to his lodgings and committed suicide. 

While we were in Havana, Bennett was so despondent at times that we were 
obliged to watch him carefully, lest he should do some damage to himself or 
others. When we left Havana for New Orleans, on board the steamer " Falcon," 
Mr. James Gordon Bennett, editor of the New York Herald, and his wife, were 
also passengers. After permitting one favorable notice in his paper, Bennett 
had turned around, as usual, and had abused Jenny Lind and bitterly attacked 
me. I was always glad to get such notices, for they served as inexpensive adver- 
tisements to my Museum. 

Ticket-taker Bennett, however, took much to heart the attacks of Editor Ben- 
nett upon Jenny Lind. When Editor Bennett came on board the "Falcon," his 
violent name-sake said to a by-stander: 

"I would wil lin gly be drowned if I could see that old scoundrel goto the 
bottom of the sea." 

Several of our party overheard the remark and 1 turned laughingly to Bennett 
and said: " Nonsense; he cant harm any one. and there is an old proverb about 
the impossibility of drowning those who are born to another fate." 

That very night, however, as I stood near the cabin door, conversing with my 
treasurer and other members of my company, Henry Bennett came up to me 
with a wild air, and hoarsely whispered: 

"Old Bennett has gone forward alone in the dark — and I am going to throw 
him overboard!" 

We were all startled, for we knew the man and he seemed terribly in earnest. 
Knowing how most effectively to address him at such times, I exclaimed: 

"Ridiculous! you would not do such a thing." 

"I swear I will," was his savage reply. I expostulated with him, and several 
of our party joined me. 

" Nobody will know it," muttered the maniac, " and I shall be doing the world 
a favor." 

I endeavored to awaken him to a sense of the crime he contemplated, assuring 
him that it could not possibly benefit any one, and that from the fact of the 
relations existing between the editor and myself, I should be the first to be 
accused of his murder. I implored him to go to his state-room, and he finally 
did so, accompanied by some of the gentlemen of our party. I took pains to see 
that he was carefully watched that night, and, indeed, for several days, till he 
became calm again. He was a large, athletic man, quite able to pick up his name- 
sake and drop him overboard. The matter was too serious for a joke, and we 
made little mention of it; but more than one of our party said then, and has 
said since, what I really believe to be true, that "James Gordon Bennett would 
have been drowned that night had it not been for P. T. Barnum." 

In New Orleans the wharf was crowded by a great concourse of persons, as the 
steamer "Falcon" approached. Jenny Lind had enjoyed a month of quiet, and 
dreaded the excitement which she must now again encounter. 

"Mr. Barnum, I am sure I can never get through that crowd," said she, in 

" Leave that to me. Remain quiet for ten minutes, and there shall be no crowd 
here," I replied. 

Taking my daughter on my arm, she threw her veil over her face, and we 
descended the gangway to the dock. The crowd pressed around. 1 had beckoned 
for a carriage before leaving the ship. 


44 That's Barnum, I know him," called out several persons at the top of their 

" Open the way, if you please, for Mr. Barnum and Miss Lind! " cried Le Grand 
Smith over the railing of the ship, the deck of which he had just reached from 
the wharf. 

"Don't crowd her, if you please, gentlemen," I exclaimed, and by dint of push- 
ing, squeezing and coaxing, we reached the carriage, and drove for the Montalba 
buildings, where Miss Land's apartments had been prepared, and the whole crowd 
came following at our heels. In a few minutes afterwards, Jenny and her com- 
panion came quietly in a carriage, and were in the house before the ruse was 
discovered. In answer to incessant calls, she appeared a moment upon the 
balcony, waved her handkerchief, received three hearty cheers, and the crowd 

A funny incident occurred at New Orleans. Our concerts were given in the 
St. Charles Theater, then managed by my good f riend,. the late Sol Smith. In 
the open lots near the theater were exhibitions of mammoth hogs, five-footed 
horses, grizzly bears, and other animals. # 

A gentleman had a son about twelve years old, who had a wonderful ear for 
music. He could whistle or sing any tune after hearing it once. His father did 
not know nor care for a single note, but so anxious was he to please his son, that 
he paid thirty dollars for two tickets to the concert. 

11 1 liked the music better than I expected," said he to me the next day, " but 
my son was in raptures. He was so perfectly enchanted that he scarcely spoke 
the whole evening, and I would on no account disturb his delightful reveries. 
When the concert was finished we came out of the theater. Not a word was 
spoken. I knew that my musical prodigy was happy among the clouds, and I 
said nothing. I could not help envying him his love of music, and considered my 
thirty dollars as nothing, compared to the bliss which it secured to him. Indeed, 
I was seriously thinking of taking him to the next concert, when he spoke. We 
were just passing the numerous shows upon the vacant lots. One of the signs 
attracted him, and he said, ' Father, let us go in and see the big hog! ' The little 
scamp! I could have horsewhipped him!" said the father, who, loving a joke, 
could not help laughing at the ludicrous incident. 

Some months afterwards, I was relating this story at my own table to several 
guests, among whom was a very matter-of-fact man who had not the faintest 
conception of humor. After the whole party had Laughed heartily at the anecdote, 
my matter-of-fact friend gravely asked: 

44 And was it a very large hog, Mi*. Barnum I" 

I made arrangements with the captain of the splendid steamer " Magnolia," 
of Louisville, to take our party as far as Cairo, the junction of the Mississippi 
and Ohio rivers, stipulating for sufficient delay in Natchez, Mississippi, and in 
Memphis, Tennessee, to give a concert in each place. It was no unusual thing for 
me to charter a steamboat or a special train of cars for our party. With such an 
enterprise as that, time and comfort were paramount to money. 

The time on board the steamer was whiled away in reading, viewing the scenery 
of the Mississippi, and other diversions. One day we had a pleasant musical 
festival in the ladies' saloon for the gratification of the passengers, at which Jenny 
volunteered to sing without ceremony. It seemed to us she never sang so sweetly 
before. I also did my best to amuse my fellow passengers with anecdotes and 
the exhibition of sundry legerdemain tricks which I had been obliged to learn 
and use in the South years before, and under Ear different circumstances than 



those which attended the performance now. Among other tricks, I caused a 
quarter of a dollar to disappear so mysteriously from beneath a card, that the 
mulatto barber on board came to the conclusion that I was in league with the 

The next morning I seated myself for the operation of shaving, and the colored 
gentleman ventured to dip into the mystery. " Beg pardon, Mr. Barnum, but 1 
have heard a great deal about you, and I saw more than I wanted to see last 
night. Is it true that you have sold yourself to the deviL so that you can do 
what you've a mind to? " 

" Oh, yes," was my reply, "that is the bargain between us." 

" How long did you agree for?" was the question next in order. 

"Only nine years," said I. "I have had three of them already. Before the 
other six are out, I shall find a way to nonplus the old gentleman, and I have told 
him so to his face." 

At this avowal, a larger space of white than usual was seen in the darkey's 
eyes, and he inquired, " Is it by this bargain that you get so much money?" 

" Certainly, No matter whodias money, nor where he keeps it, in his box or 
till, or anywhere about him, I have only to speak the words, and it comes." 

The shaving was completed in silence, but thought had been busy in the bar- 
ber's mind, and he embraced the speediest opportunity to transfer his bag of coin 
to the iron safe in charge of the clerk. 

The movement did not escape me, and immediately a joke was afoot. I had 
barely time to make two or three details of arrangement with the clerk, and 
resume my seat in the cabin, ere the barbe.r sought a second interview, bent on 
testing the alleged powers of Beelzebub's colleague. 

" Beg pardon, Mr. Barnum, but where is my money? Can you get it?" 

" I do not want your money," was the quiet answer. " It is safe." 

" Yes, I know it is safe — ha! ha! — it is in the iron safe in the clerk's office — safe 
enough from you ! " 

"It is not in the iron safe!" said I. This was said so quietly, yet positively, 
that the colored gentleman ran to the office, and inquired if all was safe. "All 
right," said the clerk. " Open, and let me see," replied the barber. The safe was 
unlocked and lo ! the money was gone ! 

In mystified terror the loser applied to me for relief. "You will find the bag 
in your drawer," said I, and there it was found! 

His curiosity was still great. "Please do another trick," said he. 

"Very well," I replied, "stand perfectly still." 

He did so, and I commenced muttering some mysterious words, as if performing 
an incantation. 

" What are you doing ?" asked the barber. 

" I am changing you into a black cat," I replied, "but don't be afraid; I will 
change you back again, if I don't forget the words to do it with." 

This was too much for the terrified darkey; with an awful screech he rushed to 
the side of the boat resolved to drown rather than undergo such a transformation. 

He was captured and brought back to me, when I dispelled his fright by explan- 
ing the way in which I had tricked him. Relieved and reassured, he clapped his 
oands and executed an impromptu jig, exclaiming, " Ha! ha! when I get back to 
New Orleans won't I come de Barnum ober dem niggers ! " 



According to agreement, the " Magnolia " waited for us at Natchez and Mem- 
phis, and we gave profitable concerts at both places. The concert at Memphis 
was the sixtieth in the list since Miss Land's arrival in America, and the first 
concert in St. Louis would be the sixty-first. When we reached that city, on the 
morning of the day when our first concert was to be given, Miss Land's secretary 
came to me, commissioned, he said, by her, and announced that as sixty concerts 
nad already taken place, she proposed to avail herself of one of the conditions of 
our contract, and cancel the engagement next morning. As this was the first 
intimation of the kind I had received, I was somewhat startled, though I assumed 
an entirely placid demeanor, and asked: 

" Does Miss Land authorize you to give me this notice?" 

" I so understand it," was the reply. 

I immediately reflected that if our contract was thus suddenly canceled, Miss 
Land was bound to repay to me all I had paid her over the stipulated $1,000 for 
each concert, and a little calculation showed that the sum thus to be paid back 
was $77,000, since she had already received from me $137,000 for sixty concerts. 
In this view, I could not but think that this was a ruse of some of her advisers, 
and, possibly, that she might know nothing of the matter. So I told her secre- 
tary that I would see him again in an hour, and meanwhile I went to my old 
friend Mr. SoL Smith for his legal and friendly advice. 

I showed him my contract and told him how much I had been annoyed by the 
selfish and greedy hangers-on and advisers, legal and otherwise, of Jenny Lind. 
I talked to him about the "wheels within wheels " which moved this great musical 
enterprise, and asked and gladly accepted his advice, which mainly coincided 
with my own views of the situation. I then went back to the secretary and 
quietly told him that I was ready to settle with Miss Lind and to close the 

"But," said he, manifestly "taken aback," "you have already advertised 
concerts in Louisville and Cincinnati, I believe." 

"Yes," 1 replied; "but you may take my contracts for halls and printing off 
my hands at cost." I further said that he was welcome to the assistance of my 
agent who had made these arrangements, and, moreover, that I would cheerfully 
give my own services to help them through with these concerts, thus giving them 
a good start "on their own hook." 

My liberality, which he acknowledged, emboldened him to make an extraordi- 
nary proposition: 

" Now suppose," he asked, " Miss Lind should wish to give some fifty concerts 
in this country, what would you charge as manager, per concert?" 

"A milli on dollars each, not one cent less," I replied. I was now thoroughly 
aroused; the whole thing was as clear as daylight, and I continued: 

" Now we might as well understand each other; I don't believe Miss Lind has 
authorized you to propose to me to cancel our contract; but if she has, just bring 



me a line to that effect over her signature and her check for the amount due me 
by the terms of that contract, some $77,000, and we will close our business 
connections at once." 

"But why not make a new arrangement," persisted the secretary, "for fifty 
concerts more, by which Miss Land shall pay you liberally, say $1,000 per 

"Simply because I hired Miss Lind, and not she me," I replied, "and because I 
never ought to take a farthing less for my risk and trouble than the contract 
gives me. I have voluntarily paid Miss Lind more than twice as much as I 
originally contracted to pay her, or as she expected to receive when she first 
engaged with me. Now, if she is not satisfied, I wish to settle instantly and 
finally. If you do not bring me her decision to-day, I shall go to her for it to- 
morrow morning." 

I met the secretary soon after breakfast next morning and asked him if he had 
a written communication for me from Miss Lind? He said he had not, and that 
the whole thing was a "joke." He merely wanted, he added, to see what I would 
say to the proposition. I asked him if Miss Lind was in the "joke," as he called 
it? He hoped I would not inquire, but would let the matter drop. I went on, as 
usual, and gave four more concerts in St. Louis, and followed out my programme 
as arranged in other cities for many weeks following; nor at that time, nor at 
any time afterwards, did Miss Lind give me the slightest intimation that she had 
any knowledge of the proposition of her secretary to cancel our agreement or to 
employ me as her manager. 

During our stay at St. Louis, I delivered a temperance lecture in the theater, 
and, at the close, among other signers of the pledge, was my friend and adviser, 
Sol. Smith. "Uncle Sol." as every one called him, was a famous character in 
his time. He was an excellent comedian, an author, a manager and a lawyer. 
In 1854, he published an autobiographical work, preceded by a dedication which 
I venture to copy: 


"Great Impressario: Whilst you were engaged in your grand Jenny Lind 
speculation, the following conundrum went the rounds of the American news- 

"'Why is it that Jenny Lind and Barnum will never fall out?' Answer: 
' Because he is always for-getting, and she is always for-giving.' 

"I have never asked you the question directly, whether you, Mr. Barnum, 
started that conundrum, or not; but I strongly suspect that you did. At all 
events, I noticed that your whole policy was concentrated into one idea — to make 
an angel of Jenny, and depreciate yourself in contrast. 

" You may remember that in this city (St. Louis), I acted in one instance as 
your 'legal adviser,' and, as such, necessarily became acquainted with all the 
particulars of your contract with the so-called Swedish Nightingale, as well as 
the various modifications claimed by that charitable lady, and submitted to by 
you after her arrival in this country; which modifications (I suppose it need no 
longer be a secret) secured to her — besides the original stipulation of one thousand 
dollars for every concert, attendants, carriages, assistant artists, and a pompous 
and extravagant retinue, fit (only) for a European princess — one half of the profits 
of each performance. You may also remember the legal advice I gave you on 
the occasion referred to. and the salutary effect of your following it. You roust 
remej uber the extravagant joy you felt afterwards, in Philadelphia, when the 


' Angel ' made up her mind to avail herself of one of the stipulations in her con- 
tract, to break off at the end of a hundred nights, and even bought out seven 
of that hundred — supposing that she could go on without your aid as well as 
with it. And you cannot but remember, how, like a rocket -stick sin.- dropped, 
when your business connection with her ended, and how she 'fizzed out' the 
remainder of her concert nights in this part of the world, and soon afterwards 
retired to her domestic blissitude in Sweden. 

"You know, Mr. Barnum, if you would only tell, which of the two it was that 
was 'for-getting,' and which ' f or-giving ; ' and you also know who actually gave 
the larger portion of those sums which you heralded to the world as the sole gilts 
of the ' divine Jenny.' 

" Of all your speculations— from the negro centenarina, who didn't nurse Gen- 
eral "Washington, down to the Bearded Woman of Genoa — there was not one 
which required the exercise of so much humbuggery as the Jenny Lind concerts; 
and I verily believe there is no man living, other than yourself, who could, or 
would, have risked the enormous expenditure of money necessary to carry them 
through successfully— traveling, with sixty artists, four thousand miles, and 
giving ninety-three concerts, at an actual cost of forty-five hundred dollars each, 
is what no other man would have undertaken — you accomplished this, and 
pocketed by the operation but little less than two hundred thousand dollars! 
Mr. Barnum, you are yourself, alone! 

"I honor you, oh! Great Impressario, as the most successful manager in 
America or any other country. Democrat, as you are, you can give a practical 
lesson to the aristocrats of Europe how to live. At your beautiful and tasteful 
residence, ' Iranistan ' (I don't like the name, though), you can and do entertain your 
friends with a warmth of hospitality, only equalled by that of the great landed 
proprietors of the old country, or of our own ' sunny South.' Whilst riches are 
pouring into your coffers from your various ' ventures ' in all parts of the world, 
you do not hoard your immense means, but continually ' cast them forth upon 
the waters,' rewarding labor, encouraging the arts, and lending a helping hand to 
industry in all its branches. Not content with doing all this, you deal telling blows, 
whenever opportunity offers, upon the monster Intemperance. Your labors in 
this great cause alone should entitle you to the thanks of all good men, women and 
children in the land. Mr. Barnum, you deserve all your good fortune, and I 
hope you may long five to enjoy your wealth and honor. 

"As a small installment towards the debt, I, as one of the community, owe 
you, and with the hope of affording you an hour's amusement (if you can spare 
that amount of time from your numerous avocations to read it), I present you 
with this little volume, containing a very brief account of some of my ' journey- 
work' in the south and west; and remain, very respectfully, 
" Your friend, and affectionate uncle, 

" Sol. Smith. 
" Chouteau Avenue, St. Louis, 
"Nov. 1, 1854." 

" Uncle " Sol. Smith must be held solely responsible for his extravagant estimate 
of P. T. Barnum, and for his somewhat deprecatory view of the attributes of 
the "divine Jenny." 

Whenever Miss Lind sang for a public or private charity, she gave her voice, 
which was worth a thousand dollars to her every evening. At such times, I 
always insisted upon paying for the liall, orchestra, printing, and other expenses, 

126 je2*:n t y lind. 

because I felt able and willing to contribute rny full share towards the worthy 
objects which prompted these benefits. 

We were in Havana when I showed to Miss Lind a paper containing the co- 
nundrum on " f or-getting " and "for-giving," at which she laughed heartily, but 
immediately checked herself and said: 

" O! Mr. Bamum, this is not fair; you know that you really give more than I 
do from the proceeds of every one of these charity concerts." 

And it is but just to her to say that she frequently remonstrated with me, and 
declared that the actual expenses should be deducted, and the thus lessened sum 
devoted to the charity for which the concert might be given; but I always laugh- 
ingly told her that I must do my part, give my share, and that if it was purely 
a business operation, "bread cast upon the waters," it would return, perhaps, 
buttered; for the larger her reputation for liberality, the more liberal the public 
would surely be to us and to our enterprise. 

I have no wish to conceal these facts, and I certainly have no desire to receive 
a larger meed of praise than my qualified generosity merits. Justice to myself 
and to my management, as well as to Miss Lind, seems to permit, if not to de- 
mand, this explanation. 



After five concerts in St. Louis, we went to Nashville, Tennessee, where we 
gave our sixty-sixth and sixty-seventh conceits in this country. While there, 
Jenny Lind, accompanied by my daughter, Mj-s. Lyman, and myself, visited the 
"Hermitage," the late residence of General Jackson. On that occasion, for the 
first time that season, we heard the wild mocking-birds singing in the trees. This 
gave Jenny Lind great delight, as she had never before heard them sing except 
in their wire-bound cages. 

The first of April occurred while we were in Nashville. I was considerably 
annoyed during the forenoon by the calls of members of the company, who came 
to me under the belief that I had sent for them. After dinner, I concluded to 
give them all a touch of " April fool." The following article, which appeared the 
next morning in the Nashville Daily American, my amanuensis having imparted 
the secret to the editor, will show how it was done: 

"A series of laughable jokes came off yesterday at the Veranda in honor of All Fools' 
Day. Mr. Barnum was at the bottom of the mischief. He manased, in some mysterious 
manner, to obtain a lot of blank telegraphic despatches and envelopes from one of the offices 
in this city, and then went to work and manufactured 'astounding intelligence ' for most of 
the parties composing the Jenny Lind suite. Almost every person in the company received 
a telegraphic despatch, written under the direction of Barnum. Mr. Barnum's daughter 
wsa informed that her mother, her cousin, and several other relatives, were waiting for her 
in Louisville, and various other important and extraordinary items of domestic intelligence 
were communicated to her. Mr. Le Grand Smith was told by a despatch from his I . 
mat his native village, in Connecticut, was in ashes, including his own homestead, etc. 
Several of Barnum's employees had most liberal offers of engagements from banks and 
)ther institutions at the North. Burke, and others of the muiical professors, were offered 
princely salaries by opera manasers, and many of them received most tempting inducements 
.o proceed immediately to the World's Fair in London. 

" One married gentleman in Mr. Barnum's suit received the eratifying intelligence that 
he had for two days been the father of a pair of bouncing boys (mother and children doing 
well), an event which he had been anxiously looking for during the week, though on a 
somewhat more limited scale. In fact, nearly every person in the party engaged by Bar- 
num received some extraordinary telegraphic intelligence ; and, as the great impressario 
managed to have the despatches delivered simultaneously, each recipient was for some time 
busily occupied with his own personal news. 

" By and by each began to tell his neighbor his good or bad tidings ; and each was, of 
course, rejoiced or grieved, according to circumstances. Several gave Mr. Barnum notice 
of their intention to leave him, in consequence of better offers ; and a number of them sent 
off telegraphic despatches and letters by mail, in answer to those received. 

"The man who had so suddenly become the father of twins, telegraphed to his wife to 
'be of good cheer,' and that he would 'start for home to-morrow. At a late hour last 
night the secret had not got out, and we presume that many of the victims will flrnt learn 
from our columns that they have been taken in by Barnum and All Fools' Day ! " 

From Nashville, Jenny Lind and a few friends went by way of the Mammoth 
Cave to Louisville, while the rest of the party proceeded by steamboat. 

While in Havana, I engaged Signor Salvi for a few months, to begin about the 
tenth of April. He joined us at Louisville, and sang in the three concerts there 
with great satisfaction to the public. Mr. George D. Prentice, of the Louisville 
Journal, and his beautiful and accomplished lady, who had contributed much to 
the pleasure of Miss Lind and our party, accompanied us to Cincinnati. 

As the steamer from Louisville to Cincinnati would arrive at Madison about 
sundown, and would wait long enough for us to give a concert, we did so, and at 



ten o'clock we were again on board the fine steamer " Ben Franklin " bound for 

The next morning the crowd upon the wharf was immense. I was fearful that 
an attempt to repeat the New Orleans ruse with my daughter would be of no 
avail as the joke had been published in the Cincinnati papers. So I gave my arm 
to Miss Lind, and begged her to have no fears for I had hit upon an expedient 
which would save her from annoyance. We then descended the plank to the 
shore, and as soon as we had touched it Le Grand Smith called out from the boat, 
as if he had been one of the passengers, "That's no go, Mr. Barnuni; you can't 
pass your daughter off for Jenny Lind this time." 

The remark elicited a peal of merriment from the crowd, several persons call- 
ing out, "That won't do, Barnum! You may fool the New Orleans folks, but 
you can't come it over the 'Buckeyes.' We intend to stay here until you bring 
out Jenny Lind!" They readily allowed me to pass with the lady whom they 
supposed to be my daughter, and in five minutes afterwards the Nightingale was 
complimenting Mr. Coleman upon the beautiful and commodious apartments 
which were devoted to her in the Burnett House. 

In passing up the river to Pittsburg, the boat waited four hours to enable us to 
give a concert at Wheeling. 

At Pittsburg we gave one concert. 

We reached New York early in May, 1851, and gave f ourteen concerts in Castle 
Garden and Metropolitan Hall. The last of these made the ninety-second regular 
concert under our engagement. Jenny Lind had now again reached the atmos- 
phere of her legal and other " advisers," and I soon discovered the effects of their 
influence. I, however, cared little what course they advised her to pursue. L, in- 
deed, wished they would prevail upon her to close with her hundredth concert, for I 
had become weary with constant excitement and unremitting exertions. I felt it 
would be well for her to try some concerts on her own account, if she saw fit to 
credit her advisers' assurance that I had not managed the enterprise as success- 
fully as it might have been done. 

At about the eighty-fifth concert, therefore, I was most happy to learn from 
her lips that she had concluded to pay the f orfeiture of twenty-five thousand dol- 
lars, and terminate the concerts with the one hundredth. 

We went 10 Philadelphia, where I had advertised the ninety-third and 
ninety-fourth concerts. Not caring enough for the profits of the remaining 
seven concerts to continue the engagement at the risk of disturbing the 
friendly feelings which had hitherto uninterruptedly existed between that lady 
and myself, I wrote her a letter offering to relinquish the engagement, if she 
desired it, at the termination of the concert whioh was to take place that evening, 
upon her simply allowing me a thousand dollars per concert for the seven which 
would yet remain to make up the hundred, besides paying me the sum stipulated 
as a forfeiture for closing the engagement at the one hundredth concert. This 
offer she accepted, and our engagement terminated. 

Jenny Lind gave several concerts, with varied success, and then retired to 
Niagara Falls, and afterwards to Northampton, Massachusetts. While sojourn- 
ing at the latter place, she visited Boston and was married to Mr. Otto Gold- 
schmidt, a German composer and pianist, to whom she was much attached, and 
who had studied music with her in Germany. He played several times in our 
concerts. He was a very quiet, inoffensive gentleman, and an accomplished 


1 met her several times after our engagement terminated. She was alwayi 
affable. On one occasion, while passing through Bridgeport, she told me that she 
had been sadly harassed in giving her concerts. " People cheat me and swindle 
me very much," said she, "and I find it very annoying to give concerts on my 
own account." 

I was always supplied with complimentary tickets when she gave concerts in 
New York, and on the occasion of her last appearance in America I visited her 
in her room back of the stage, and bade her and her husband adieu, with my best 
wishes. She expressed the same feeling to me in return. She told me she should 
never sing much, if any more, in public; but I reminded her that a good Provi 
dence had endowed her with a voice which enabled her to contribute in an emi 
nent degree to the enjoyment of her fellow beings, and if she no longer needed 
the large sums of money which they were willing to pay for this elevating and 
delightful entertainment, she knew by experience what a genuine pleasure she 
would receive by devoting the money to the alleviation of the wants and sorrows 
of those who needed it. 

'" Ah! Mr. Barnum," she replied, " that is very time; and it would be ungrate- 
ful in me to not continue to use, for the benefit of the poor and lowly, that gift 
which our kind Heavenly Father has so graciously bestowed upon me. Yes, I 
wiil continue to sing so long as my voice lasts, but it will be mostly for charitable 
objects, for I am thankful to say that I have all the money which I shall ever 
need." Pursuant to this resolution, the larger portion of the concerts which 
this noble lady has given since her return to Europe have been for objects of 

If she consents to sing for a charitable object in London, for instance, the fact 
is not advertised at all, but the tickets are readily disposed of in a private, quiet 
way, at a guinea and half a guinea each. 

After so many months of anxiety, labor and excitement, in the Jenny Lind 
enterprise, it will readily be believed that I desired tranquillity. I spent a week 
at Cape May, and then came home to Iranistan, where I remained during the 
entire summer. 



New York $17,864.05 No. 23. New York $5,773 40 

14,203.03 24. " 4,993.50 







Philadelphia 5, 



Baltimore 7,1 17. (X) 


Washington City r,,s78.55 

«* 8 51 1 

Richmond ... . ""*."""". 12, 

Charleston 6,775.00 


Havana 4. 



New Orleans 12, 

No. 1. 

, t 















11 848.62 





















Now York 























New Orleans 





No. 71. 















6,500 40 












New York 




5,453. (HJ 

5.463 70 






7^378 35 





St. Louis 




() <;41 00 










" ::::::: 








5 339 23 
















( jarity Concerts. — Of Miss Lind's half receipts of the first two Concerts she devoted 
fit D00 to charity in New York. She afterwards gave Chanty Concerts in Boston, Balti- 
moie. Charleston, Havana, New Orleans, New York and Philadelphia, and donated large 
sums for the like purposes in Richmond, Cincinnati and elsewhere. There were also several 
Benefit Concerts, for the Orchestra. Le Grand Smith, and other persons and objects. 


New York 35 Concerts. Receipts, $2^6,216.64 

Philadelphia ....8 " " 48.884.41 

Boston 7 " " 70.3S8.16 

Providence 1 " " 6.525.54 

Baltimore 4 " " 32,101.88 

Washington 2 " " 15,385.60 

Richmond 1 " " 12.3S5.21 

Charleston 2 " " 10.42S.75 

Havana 3 " " 10,436.04 

NewOrleans 12 " " 87,646.12 

Natchez 1 M " 5.000.00 

Memphis 1 M " 4.539.56 

St.Louis 5 " * 30,613.67 

Nashvtlle 2 " *' 12.034.30 

Louisville 3 " " 19,429.50 

Madison 1 u " 3,693.25 

Cincinnati 5 M " 44,242.13 

Wheeling 1 " " 5,000.00 

Pittsburg 1 " " 7,210.58 

Total 95 Concerts. Receipts, $712,161.34 






Average, $7,496.43 


From the Total Receipts of Ninety-five Concerts $712,161.34 

Deduct the receipts of the first two, which, as between P. T. Bar- 
num and Jenny Lind. were aside from the contract, and are 
not numbered in the Table 32,067.08 

Total Receipts of Concerts from No. 1 to No. 93 §680,094.26 

Deduct the Receipts of the 28 Concerts, each of 
which fell short of £5,500 $123.311 .15 

Also deduct $5,500 for each of the remaining 65 Con- 
certs 357,500.00 480,811.15 

Leaving the total excess, as above §199,283.11 

Beinz equally divided, Miss Lind's portion was 

I paid her $1,000 for each of the 93 Concerts 

Also one-half the receipts of the first two Concerts 

Amount paid to Jenny Lind 




She refunded to me as forfeit ore, per contract, in case she with- 
drew after the 100th Concert . .*. $25,000 

She also paid me $1,000 each for the seven concerts relinquished, 7,000 $32,000.00 

Jen>-t Lind's net avails of 96 concerts $176.675. 00 

P. T. Barnum's gross receipts, atter paying Miss Lind 

Total Receipts of 95 Concerts §712,161.31 

Price op Tickets.— The highest prices paid for tickets were at auction, as folio-. 
John N. Geniu, In New York, $225; Ossian E. Dodge, in Boston, $625; Col. William C. I 
in Providence, $650; M. A. Root, in Philadelphia, $625; Mr. D'Arcy, in New Orleans, - 

a keeper of a refreshment saloon in St. Louis. $150: a Daguerreotypist, in Baltimore. $100. 
I cannot now recall the names of the last two. Alter the sale of the first ticket the pre- 
mium usually fell to $20, anJ «o downward in the - The fixed price of tick- 
ets ranged from $7 to $3. Promenade tickets were from $2 to $1 each. 



In 1849 I had projected a great traveling museum and menagerie, and, as J 
had neither time nor inclination to manage such a concern, I induced Mr. Seth 
B. Howes, justly celebrated as a "showman," to join me, and take the sole 
charge. Mr. Sherwood E. Stratton, father of General Tom Thumb, was also 
admitted to partnership, the interest being in thirds. 

In carrying out a portion of the plan, we chartered the ship "Regatta," Cap- 
tain Pratt, -and despatched her, together with our agents, Messrs. June and 
Nutter, to Ceylon. The ship left New York in May, 1850, and was absent one 
year. Their mission was to procure, either by capture or purchase, twelve or 
more living elephants, besides such other wild animals as they could secure. In 
order to provide sufficient drink and provender for a cargo of these huge animals, 
we purchased a large quantity of hay in New York. Five hundred tons were 
left at the Island of St. Helena, to be taken on the return trip of the ship, and 
staves and hoops of water-casks were also left at the same place. 

They arrived in New York in 1851, with ten elephants, and these harnessed it 
pairs to a chariot, paraded up Broadway past the Irving House, while Jenny 
Lind was staying at that hotel, on the occasion of her second visit to New York. 
We added a caravan of wild animals and many museum curiosities, the entire 
outfit, including horses, vans, carriages, tent, etc., costing $109,000, and com- 
menced operations, with the presence and under the "patronage" of General 
Tom Thumb, who traveled nearly four years as one of the attractions of "Bar- 
num's Great Asiatic Caravan, Museum and Menagerie," returning us immense 

At the end of that time, after exhibiting in all sections of the country, we 
sold out the entire establishment — animals, cages, chariots and paraphernalia, 
excepting one elephant, which I retained in my own possession two months for 
agricultural purposes. It occurred to me that if I could put an elephant to 
plowing for a while on my farm at Bridgeport, it would be a capital advertise- 
ment for the American Museum, which was then, and always during my 
proprietorship of that establishment, foremost in my thoughts. 

So I sent him to Connecticut in charge of his keeper, whom I dressed in Oriental 
costume, and keeper and elephant were stationed on a six-acre lot which lay close 
beside the track of the New York and New Haven railroad. The keeper was 
furnished with a time-table of the road, with special instructions to be busily 
engaged in his work whenever passenger trains from either way were passing 
through. Of course, the matter soon appeared in the papers and went the entire 
rounds of the press in this country and even in Europe. Hundreds of people 
came many miles to witness the novel spectacle.* Letters poured in upon me 
from the secretaries of hundreds of State and county agricultural societies 
throughout the Union, stating that the presidents and directors of such societies 
had requested them to propound to me a series of questions in regard to the new 

* See Illustration, opposite. 



power I had put in operation on my farm. These qui m ions were greatly diver- 
sified, but the "general run" of them were something like the following: 

1. "Is the elephant a profitable agricultural animal?" 

2. " How much can an elephant plow in a day?" 

3. " How much can he draw? " 

4. "How much does he eat?" — this question was invariably asked, and wets * 
very important one. 

5. " Will elephants make themselves generally useful on a farm?" 

6. " What is the price of an elephant? " 

7. " Where can elephants be purchased?" 

Then would follow a score of other inquiries, such as, whether elephants wero 
easily managed; if they would quarrel with cattle; if it was possible to breed 
them; how old calf elephants must be before they would earn their own living: 
aid so on indefinitely. I began to be alarmed lest some one should buy an 
elephant, and so share the fate of the man who drew one in a lottery, and did 
not know what to do with him. I accordingly had a general letter printed, 
which I mailed to all my anxious inquirers. It was headed "strictly confiden- 
tial," and I then stated, begging my eorrespon dents "not to mention it," that to 
me the elephant was a valuable agricultural animal, because he was an excellent 
advertisement to my Museum; but that to other farmers he would prove very 
unprofitable for many reasons. In the first place, such an animal would cost from 
$3,000 to $10,000; in cold weather he could not work at all; in any weather he 
could not earn even half his living; he would eat up the value of his own head, 
trunk, and body eve^-y year; and I begged my correspondents not to do so fool- 
ish a thing as to undertake elephant farming. 

Newspaper reporters came from far and near, and wrote glowing accounts of 
the elephantine performances. Pictures of Barnum's plowing elephant appeared 
in illustrated papers at home and abroad. 

The six acres were plowed over at least sixty times before I thought the adver- 
tisement sufficiently circulated, and I then sold the elephant to Van Amburgh's 

In 1851 I became a part owner of the steamship "North America," Our 
intention in buying it was to run it to Ireland as a passenger and freight ship. 
The project was, however, abandoned, and Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt 
bought one-half of the steamer, while the other half was owned by three persons, 
of whom I was one. The steamer was sent around Cape Horn to San Francisco, 
and was put into the Vanderbilt line. 

After she had made several trips I called upon Mr. Vanderbilt, at his office, and 
introduced myself, as this was the first time we had met. 

"Is it possible you are Barnuin?" exc-laimed the Commodore, in surprise, 
"why, I expected to see a monster, part lion, part elephant, and a mixture of 
rhinoceros and tiger! Is it possible," he continued, "that you are the showman 
who has made so much noise in the world?" 

I laughingly replied that I was, and added that if I too had been governed in 
my anticipation of his personal appearance by the fame he had achieved in his 
line, I should have expected to have been saluted by a steam whistle, and to have 
seen him dressed in a pea jacket, blowing off steam, and crying out "all aboard 
that's going." 

"Instead of which," replied Mr. Vanderbilt, "I suppose you have come to ask 
me ' to walk up to the Captain's office and settle.' " 


After this interchange of civilities, we talked about the success of tne "North 
America" in having got safely around the Horn, and of the acceptable manner 
in which she was doing her duty on the Pacific side. 

"We have received no statement of her earnings yet," said the Commodore, 
"but if you want money, give your receipt to our treasurer, and take some." 

A few months subsequent to tbis, I sold out my share in the stearnstnp to Mr. 
Daniel Drew. 

Some references to the various enterprises and "side shows" connected with 
and disconnected from my Museum, is necessary to show how industriously I 
have car-ered for the public's amusement, not only in America but abroad. When 
I was in Paris in 1844, in addition to the purchase of Robert Houdin's ingenious 
automaton writer, and many other costly curiosities for the Museum, I ordered, 
at an expense of $3,000, a panoramic diorama of the obsequies of Napoleon. 
Every event of that grand pageant, from the embarkation of the body at St. 
Helena, to its entombment at the Hotel des Invalides, amid the most gorgeous 
parade ever witnessed in France, was wonderfully depicted. This exhibition, 
after having had its day at the American Museum, was sold, and extensively and 
profitably exhibited elsewhere. AVhile I was in London, during the same year, I 
engaged a company of " Campanalogians, or Lancashire Bell Ringers," then 
performing in Ireland, to make an American tour. They were really admirable 
performers, and by means of their numerous bells, of various sizes, they produced 
the most delightful music. They attracted much attention hi various parts of 
the United States, in Canada, and in Cuba. 

As a compensation to England for the loss of the Bell Ringers, I despatched an 
agent to America for a party of Indians, including squaws. He proceeded to 
Iowa, and returned to London with a company of sixteen. They were exhibited 
by Mi*. Catlin on our joint account, and were finally left in his sole charge. 

On my first return visit to America from Europe, I engaged Mr. Faber, an 
elderly and ingenious German, who had constructed an automaton speaker. It 
was of life-size, and when worked with keys similar to those of a piano, it really 
articulated words and sentences with surprising distinctness. My agent exhibited 
it for several months in Egyptian Hall, London, and also in the provinces. This 
was a marvelous piece of mechanism, though for some unaccountable reason 
it did not prove a success. The Duke of Wellington visited it several times, and 
at first he thought that the "voice" proceeded from the exhibitor, whom he 
assumed to be a skillful ventriloquist. He was asked to touch the keys with his 
own fingers, and, after some instruction in the method of operating, he was able 
to make the machine speak, not only in English but also in German, with which 
language the Duke seemed familiar. Thereafter, he entered his name on the 
exhibitor's autograph book, and certified that the "Automaton Speaker" was an 
extraordinary production of mechanical genius. 

The models of machinery exhibited in thp Royal Polytechnic Institution in 
London, pleased me so well that I procured a duplicate; also duplicates of the 
"Dissolving Views," the Chromatrope and Physioscope, including many Ameri- 
can scenes painted expressly to my order, at an aggregate cost of $7,000. After 
they had been exhibited in my Museum, they were sold to itinerant showmen, 
and some of them were afterwards on exhibition in various parts of the United 

In June, 1850, I added the celebrated Chinese Collection to the attractions of 
the American Museum. I also engaged the Chinese Family, consisting of two 
men, two "small-footed" women and two children. 


The giants whom I sent to America were not the greatest of my curiosities, 
though the dwarfs might have been the least. The " Scotch Boys" were inter- 
esting, not so much on account of their weight, as for the mysterious method by 
which one of them, though blindfolded, answered questions put by the other 
respecting objects presented by pei-sons who attended the surprising exhibition. 
The mystery, which was merely the result of patient pi-actice, consisted wholly 
in the manner hi which the question was propounded; in fact, the question 
invariably carried its own answer; for instance: 

"What is this?" meant gold; " Now what is this? " silver; "Say what is this?" 
copper; "Tell me what this is?" iron; "What is the shape?" long; "Now what 
shape?" round; "Say what shape," square; "Please say what this is," a watch; 
"Can you tell what is in this lady's hand?" a purse; "Now please say what this 
is?" a key; "Come now, what is this?" money; "How much?" a penny "Now 
how much?" sixpence; " Say how much," a quarter of a dollar; " What color is 
this?" black; "Now what color is this?" red; "Say what color," green; and so 
on, ad infinitum. To such perfection was this brought that it was almost impos- 
sible to present any object that could not be quite closely described by the blind- 
folded boy. This is the key to all exhibitions of what is called "second sight." 

In 1850, the celebrated Bateman children acted for several weeks at the Ameri- 
can Museum, and in June of that year I sent them to London with their father 
and Mr. Le Grand Smith, where they played in the St. James Theater, and 
afterwards in the principal provincial theaters. The elder of these cltildren, 
Miss Kate Bateman, subsequently attained the highest histronic distinction in 
America and abroad, and reached the very head of her profession. 

In October, 1852, having stipulated with Mr. George A. Wells and Mr. Bush- 
nell that they should share in the enterprise and take the entire charge, I engaged 
Miss Catherine Hayes and Herr Begnis, to give a series of sixty concerts in 
California, and the engagement was fulfilled to our entire satisfaction. Mr. 
Bushnell afterwards went to Australia with Miss Hayes, and they were subse- 
quently married. Both of them are dead. 

Before setting out for California, Miss Catherine Hayes, her mother and sister, 
spent several days at Iranistan and were present at the marriage of my eldest 
daughter, Caroline, to Mr. David W. Thompson. The wedding was to take place 
in the evening, and in the afternoon I was getting shaved in a barber-shop in 
Bridgeport, when . Mr. Thompson drove up to the door in great haste and 
" Mr. Barnum, Iranistan is in flames! " 

I ran out half -shaved, with the lather on my face, jumped into his wagon and 
bade him drive home with all speed. I was greatly alarmed, for the house was 
full of visitors who had come from a distance to attend the wedding, and all the 
costly presents, dresses, refreshments, and everything prepared for a mairiage 
celebration to which nearly a thousand guests had been invited, were already in 
my bouse. Mr. Thompson told me that he had seen the flames bursting from the 
roof, and it seemed to me that there was little hope of saving the building. 

My mind was distressed, not so much at the great pecuniary loss which the de- 
struction of Iranistan would involve, as at the possibility that some of my family 
or visitors would be killed or seriously injured in attempting to save something 
from the fire. Then I thought of the sore disappointment this calamity would 
cause to the young couple, as well as to those who were invited to the wedding. 
I saw that Mr. Thompson looked pale and anxious. 


"Never mind!" said I; "we can't help these things; the house will probably 
be burned; but if no one is killed or injured, you shall be married to-night, if we 
are obliged to perform the ceremony in the coach-house." 

On our way, we overtook a fire-company, and I implored them to "hurry up 
their machine." Arriving in sight of Iranistan, we saw huge volumes of smoke 
rolling out from the roof and many men on the top of the house were passing 
buckets of water to pour upon the fire. Fortunately, several men had been 
engaged during the day in repairing the roof, and their ladders were against the 
house. By these means and with the assistance of the men employed upon my 
grounds, water was passed very rapidly, and the flames were soon subdued with- 
out serious damage. The inmates of Iranistan were thoroughly frightened; 
Catherine Hayes and other visitors, packed their trunks and had them carried 
out on the lawn; and the house came as near destruction as it well could, and 

While Miss Hayes was in Bridgeport, I induced her to give a concert for the 
benefit of the "Mountain Grove Cemetery," and the large proceeds were devoted 
to the erection of the beautiful stone tower and gateway at the entrance of that 
charming ground. The land for this cemetery, about eighty acres, had been 
bought by me, years before, from several farmers. I had often shot over the 
ground while hunting a year or two before, and had then seen its admirable 
capabilities for the purpose to which it was eventually devoted. After deeds for 
the property were secured, it was offered for a cemetery, and at a meeting of 
citizens several lots were subscribed for, enough, indeed, to cover the amount 
of the purchase money. Thus was begun the "Mountain Grove Cemetery," 
which is now beautifully laid out and adorned with many tasteful and costly 
monuments.* Among these are my own substantial granite monument, the 
family monuments of Harral, Bishop, Hubbell, Lyon, Wood, Loomis, Wordin, 
Hyde, and others, and General Tom Thumb has erected a tall marble shaft which 
is surmounted by a life-size statue of himself. There is no more charming burial- 
ground in the whole country; yet when the project was suggested, many persons 
preferred an intermural cemetry to this rural resting-place for their departed 
friends; though now all concur in considering it fortunate that this adjunct was 
secured to Bridgeport before the land could be j)ermanently devoted to other 

Some time afterwards, when Mr. Dion Boucicault visited me at Bridgeport, 
at my solicitation, he gave a lecture for the benefit of this cemetery. I may add 
that on several occasions I have secured the services of General Tom Thumb, and 
others, for this and equally worthy objects in Bridgeport. When the General 
first returned with me from England, he gave exhibitions for the benefit of the 
Bridgeport Charitable Society. September 28, 1867, I induced him and his wife, 
with Commodore Nutt and Minnie Warren, to give their entertainment for the 
benefit of the Bridgeport Library, thus addhig $475 to the funds of that institu- 
tion; and on one occasion, I lectured to a full house in the Methodist Church, and 
the entire receipts were given to the library, of which I was already a life 
member, on account of previous subscriptions and contributions. 

* See Elustratloix, page 144. 



In the summer, I think, of 1853, 1 saw it announced in the newspapers that Mr. 

Alfred Bunn, the great ex-manager of Drury Lane Theater, in London, had 
arrived in Boston. I knew Mr. Bunn by reputation, not only from his mana- 
gerial career, but from the fact that he made the first engagement with Jenny 
Lind to appear in London. This engagement, however, Mr. Lumley, of Her 
Majesty's Theater, induced her to break, he standing a lawsuit with Mr. Bunn, 
and paying heavy damages. I had never met Mr. Bunn, but he took it for 
granted that I had seen him, for one day after his arrival in this country, a burly 
Englishman abruptly stepped into my private office in the Museum, and, assuming 
a theatrical attitude, addressed me : 

"Barnnm, do you remember me?" 

I was confident I had never seen the man before, but it struck me at once that 
no Englishman 1 ever heard of would be likely to exhibit more presumption or 
assumption than the ex-manager of Drury Lane, and I jumped at the conclusion : 

" Is not this Mr. Bunn?" 

"Ah! Ah! my boy!" he exclaimed, slapping me familiarly on the back, "I 
thought you would remember me. "WelL Bamurn, how have you been since I 
last saw you ! " 

I replied in a manner that would humor his impression that we were old 
acquaintances, and during his two hours' visit we had much gossip about men 
and things in London. He called upon me several times, and it probably never 
entered into his min d that I could possibly have been in London two or three 
years without having made the personal acquaintance of so great a lion as Alfred 

I met Mr. Bunn again in 1858, in London, at a dinner party of a mutual friend, 
Mr. Levy, proprietor of the London Daily Telegraph. Of course, Bunn and I 
were great chums and very old and intimate acquaintances. At the same dinner, 
I met several literary and dramatic gentlemen. 

In 1851, 1852, and 1853, I spent much of my time at my beautiful home in 
Bridgeport, going very frequently to New York, to attend to matters in the 
Museum, but remaining in the city only a day or two at a time. I resigned the 
office of President of the Fan-field Comity Agricultural Society in 1853, but the 
members accepted my resignation, only on condition that it should not go into 
effect until after the fair of 1851. During my administration, the society held 
six fairs and cattle-shows — four in Bridgeport and two in Stamford— and the 
interest in these gatherings increased from year to year. 

Pickpockets are always present at these country fairs, and every year there 
were loud complaints of the depredations of these operators. In 1853 a man was 
caught in the act of taking a pocket-book from a country fanner, nor was this 
farmer the only one who had suffered in the same way. The scamp was arrested, 
and proved to be a celebrated English pickpocket. As the fair would close the 
next day, and as most persons had already visited it, we expected our receipts 
would be light. 



Early in the morning the detected party was legally examined, plead guilty, 
and was bound over for trial I obtained consent from the sheriff that the cul- 
prit should be put in the fair room for the purpose of giving those who had been 
robbed an opportunity to identify him. For this purpose he was handcuffed, and 
placed in a conspicuous position, where, of course, he was " the observed of all 
observers." I then issued handbills, stating that as it was the last day of the 
Fair, the managers were happy to announce that they had secured extra attrac- 
tions for the occasion, and would accordingly exhibit, safely handcuffed, and 
without extra charge, a live pickpocket, who had been caught in the act of 
robbing an honest farmer the day previous. Crowds of people rushed in "to see 
the show." Some good mothers brought their children ten miles for that 
purpose, and our treasury was materially benefited by the operation. 

At the close of my presidency in 1854, I was requested to deliver the opening 
speech at our county fair, which was held at Stamford. As I was not able to 
give agricultural advice, I delivered a portion of my lecture on the " Philosophy 
of Humbug." The next morning, as I was being shaved in the village barber's 
shop, which was at the time crowded with customers, the ticket-seller to the 
fair came in. 

" What kind of a house did you have last night?" asked one of the gentlemen 
in waiting. 

"Oh, first-rate, of course. Barnum always draws a crowd," was the reply of 
the ticket-seller, to whom I was not known. 

Most of the gentlemen present, however, knew me, and they found much diffi- 
culty in restraining their laughter. 

" Did Barnum make a good speech?" I asked. 

" I did not hear it. I was out in the ticket-office. I guess it was pretty good, 
for I never heard so much laughing as there was all through his speech. But it 
makes no difference whether it was good or not," continued the ticket-seller, 
" the people will go to see Barnum." 

"Barnum must be a curious chap," I remarked. 

" Well I guess he is up to all the dodges." 

" Do you know him?" I asked. 

"Not personally," he replied; " but I always get into the Museum for nothing. 
1 know the doorkeeper, and he slips me in free." 

"Barnum would not like that, probably, if he knew it," I remarked 

" But it happens he don't know it," replied the ticket-seller, in great glee. 

" Barnum was on the cars the other day, on his way to Bridgeport," said I, 
"and I heard one of the passengers bloving him up terribly as a humbug. He 
was addressing Barnum at the time, but did not know him. Barnum joined in 
lustily, and indorsed everything the man said. When the passenger learned 
whom he had been addressing, I should think he must have felt rather flat." 

" I should think so, too," said the ticket-seller. 

This was too much, and we all indulged in a burst of laughter; still the ticket- 
seller suspected nothing. After I had left the shop, the barber told him who I 
was. I called into the ticket-office on business several times during the day, but 
the poor ticket-seller kept his face turned from me, and appeared so chap-fallen 
that I did not pretend to recognize him as the hero of the joke in the barber's 

This incident reminds me of numerous similar ones which have occurred at 
various times. On one occasion — it was in 1847 — I was on board the steamboat 
from New York to Bridgeport. As we approached the harbor of the latter city 


a stranger desired me to point out " Barnum's house " from the upper deck. I 
did so, whereupon a bystander remarked, "I know all about that house, for 1 
was engaged in painting there for several months while Bamuin was in Europe." 
He then proceeded to say that it was the meanest and most ill-contrived house he 
ever saw. "It will cost old Bamuin a mint of money and not be worth two 
cents after it is finished," he added. 

"I suppose old Bamuin don't pay very punctually," I remarked. 
Ob, yes, he pays punctually every Saturday night — there's no trouble about 
that ; he has made half a million by exhibiting a little boy whom he took from 
Bridgeport, and whom we never considered any great shakes till Bamuin took 
him and trained him." 

Soon afterwards one of the passengers told him who I was, whereupon he 
secreted himself, and was not seen again while I remained on the boat. 

On another occasion, I went to Boston by the Fall River route. Arriving 
before sunrise, I found but one carriage at the depot. I immediately engaged it, 
and, giving the driver the check for my baggage, told him to take me directly to 
the Revere House, as I was in great haste, and enjoined him to take in no other 
passengers, and I would pay his demands. He promised compliance with my 
wishes, but soon afterwards appeared with a gentleman, two ladies, and several 
children, whom he crowded into the carriage with me, and, placing their trunks 
on the baggage rack, started off. I thought there was no use in grumbling, and 
consoled myself with the reflection that the Revere House was not far away. 
He drove up one street and down another, for what seemed to me a very long 
time, but I was wedged in so closely that I could not see what route he was 

After half an hour's drive he halted, and I found we were at the Lowell Rail- 
way depot. Here my fellow-passengers alighted, and, after a long delay, the 
driver delivered their baggage, received his fare, and was about closing the car- 
riage door preparatory to starting again. I was so thoroughly vexed at the 
shameful manner in which he had treated me, that I remarked: 

"Perhaps you had better wait till the Lowell train arrives; you may possibly 
get another load of passengers. Of course my convenience is of no consequence. 
I suppose if you land me at the Revere House any time this week, it will be as 
much as I have a right to expect." 

" I beg your pardon," he replied, "but that was Baraum and his family. He 
was very anxious to get here in time for the first train, so I stuck him for $2, and 
now I'll carry you to the Revere House free." 

" What Barnura is it?" I asked. 

" The Museum and Jenny Lind man," he replied. 

The compliment and the shave both having been intended for me, I was of 
course mollified, and replied, "You are mistaken, my friend, /am Baraum." 

" Coachee " was thunderstruck, and offered all sorts of apologies. 

"A friend at the other depot told me that I had Mr. Barnum on board," said 
he, " and I really supposed he meant the other man. When I come to notice you, 
I perceive my mistake, but I hope you will forgive me. I have carried you 
frequently before, and hope you will give me your custom while you are in 
Boston. I never will make such a mistake again." 

In the spring of 1851, the Connecticut legislature chartered the Pequonnock 
Bank of Bridgeport, with a capital of two hundred thousand dollars. I had no 
interest whatever in the charter, and did not even know that an application was 
to be made for it. More banking capital was needed hi Bridgeport in consequence 


of the great increase of trade and manufactures in that growing and prosperous 
city, and this fact appearing in evidence, the charter was granted as a public 
benefit. The stock-books were opened under the direction of State commissioners, 
according to the laws of the Commonwealth, and nearly double the amount of 
capital was subscribed on the first day. The stock was distributed by the 
commissioners among several hundred applicants. Circumstances unexpectedly 
occurred which induced me to accept the presidency of the bank, in compliance 
with the unanimous vote of its directors. Feeling that I could not, from my 
many avocations, devote the requisite personal attention to the duties of the 
office, C. B. Hubbell, Esq., then mayor of Bridgeport, was at my request appointed 
vice-president of the institution. 

In the fall of 1852 a proposition was made by certain parties to commence the 
publication of an illustrated weekly newspaper in the city of New York. The 
field seemed to be open for such an enterprise, and I invested twenty thousand 
dollars in the concern, as special partner, in connection with two other gentlemen 
who each contributed twenty thousand dollars, as general partners. Within a 
month after the publication of the first number of the Illustrated News, which 
was issued on the first day of January, 1853, our weekly circulation had reached 
seventy thousand. Numerous and almost insurmountable difficulties, for novices 
in the business, continued however to arise, and my partners, becoming weary 
and disheartened with constant over-exertion, were anxious to wind up the 
enterprise at the end of the first year. The good- will and the engravings were 
sold to Gleasori's PictoHal, in Boston, and the concern was closed without loss. 

In February, 1854, numerous stockholders applied to me to accept the presi- 
dency of the Crystal Palace, or, as it was termed, "The Association for the 
Exhibition of the Industry of all Nations." I utterly declined listening to such 
a project, as I felt confident that the novelty had passed away, and that it would 
be difficult to revive public interest in the affair. 

Shortly afterwards, however, I was waited upon by numerous influential gen- 
tlemen, and strongly urged to allow my name to be used. I repeatedly objected 
to this, and at last consented, much against my own judgment. Having been 
elected one of the directors, I was by that body chosen president. I accepted 
the office conditionally, reserving the right to decline if I thought, upon investi- 
gation, that there was no vitality left in the institution. Upon examining the 
accounts said to exist against the association, many were pronounced indefensible 
by those who I supposed knew the facts in the case, while various debts existing 
against the concern were not exhibited when called for, and I knew nothing of 
their existence until after I accepted the office of president. I finally accepted 
it, only because no suitable person could be found who was willing to devote his 
entire time and services to the enterprise, and because I was frequently urged by 
.lirectors and stockholders to take hold of it for the benefit of the city at large, 
inasmuch as it was well settled that the Palace would be permanently closed early 
in April, 1854, if I did not take the helm. 

These considerations moved me, and I entered upon my duties with all the 
vigor which I could command. To save it from bankruptcy, I advanced large 
sums of money for the payment of debts, and tried by every legitimate means to 
create an excitement and bring it into life. By extraneous efforts, such as the 
Re-inauguration, the Monster Concerts of Jullien, the Celebration of Independ- 
ence, etc., it was temporarily revived, but it was up-hill work, and I resigned 
the presidency. 


The following trifling incident, which occurred at Iranistan in the winter of 
1852, has been called to my mind by a lady friend from Philadelphia, who was 
visiting us at the time. The poem was sent to me soon after the occurrence, but 
was lost and the subject forgotten until my Philadelphia Mend recently sent it 
to me with the wish that I should insert it in the present volume : 



The poor man's garden lifeless lay 

Beneath a fall of snow ; 
But Art in costly greenhouses, 

Keeps Summer in full glow. 
And Taste paid gold for bright bouquets. 

The pailor vase that drest, 
That scented Fashion's gray boudoir. 

Or bloomed on Beauty's breast. 

A rich man sat beside the fire, 
Wit liin his sculptured halls ; 

Brave heart, clear head, and busy hand 
Had reared those stately walls. 

He to his gardener spake, and said 
In tone of quiet glee— 

" 1 want a hundred line bouquets- 
Canst make them, John, for me ?" 

John's eyes became exceeding round, 

This question when he heard; 
He gazed upon his master, 

And he answered not a word. 
" Well, John," the rich man laughing said, 

" If these too many be, 
What sayest to half the number, man ? 

Canst fifty make for me ? " 

Now John prized every flower, as 'twere 

A daughter or a son ; 
And thought, like Regan—" what the need 

Of fifty, or of one?" 
But, keeping back the thought, he said, 

"I think, sir. that I might; 
But it would leave my lady's flowers 

In very ragged plight." 

" Well, John, thy vegetable pets 

Must needs respected be ; 
We'll halve the number once again — 

Make twenty-five for me. 
And hark ye, John, when they are made 

Come up and let me know ; 
And I'll give thee a list of those 

To whom the flowers must go." 

The twenty-five bouquets were made. 

And round the village sent ; 
And to whom thinkest thou, my friend, 

These floral jewels went? 
Not to the beautiful and proud— 

Not to the rich and gay— 
Who, Dives-like, at Luxury's feast 

Are seated every day. 

An aged Pastor, on his desk 

.' those fair preachers stand; 
A Widow wept upon the gift, 

And blessed the giver's baud. 
Where Poverty bent o'er her task, 

They cheered the lonely room; 
And round the bed where Ricknens lay, 

They breathed Health's lre>h perfume. 


Oh I kindly heart and open hand— 

Those flowers in dust are trod, 
But they bloom to weave a wreath for thee, 

In the Paradise of God. 
Sweet is the Minstrel's task, whose song 

Of deeds like these may tell ; 
And long may he have power to give, 

Who wields that power so welll 

Mrs. Anna Bach*. 



I xow come to a series of events which, all things considered, constitute one of 
the most remarkable experiences of my life — an experience which brought me 
much pain and many trials; which humbled my pride and threatened me with 
hopeless financial ruin; and yet, nevertheless, put new blood in my veins, fresh 
vigor in my action, warding off all temptation to rust in the repose which afflu- 
ence induces, and developed, I trust, new and better elements of manliness in 
my character. 

When the blow fell upon me, I thought I could never recover; the event has 
shown, however, that I have gained both in character and fortune, and what 
threatened, for years, to be my ruin, has proved one of the most fortunate hap- 
penings of my career. The "Bull Run" of my life's battle was a crushing 
defeat, which, unknown to me at the time, only presaged the victories which 
were to follow. 

It is vital to the narrative that I should give some account of the new city, 
East Bridgeport, and my interests therein, which led directly to my subsequent 
complications with the Jerome Clock Company. 

In 1S51, I purchased from Mr. William H. Noble, of Bridgeport, the undivided 
half of his late father's homestead, consisting of fifty acres of land, lying on the 
eastside of the river, opposite the city of Bridgeport. We intended this as the 
nucleus of a new city, which we concluded could soon be built up, in consequence 
of many natural advantages that it possesses. 

Before giving publicity to our p l a ns , however, we purchased one hundred and 
seventy-four acres contiguous to that which we already owned, and laid out the 
entire property in regular streets, and lined them with trees, reserving a beauti- 
ful grove of six or eight acres, which we enclosed, and converted into a public 
park.* We then co mm enced selling alternate lots, at about the same price which 
the land cost us by the acre, always on condition that a suitable dwelling-house, 
store, or manufactory should be erected upon the land, within one year from the 
date of purchase; that every building should be placed at a certain distance from 
the street, in a style of architecture approved by us ; that the grounds should be 
enclosed with acceptable fences, and kept clean and neat, with other conditions 
which would render the locality a desirable one for respectable residents, and 
operate for the mutual benefit of all persons who should become settlers in the 
new city. 

This entire property consists of a beautiful plateau of ground, lying within 
than half a mile of the center of Bridgeport city. Considering the supe- 
riority of the situation, it is a wonder that the city of Bridgeport was not 
originally founded upon that side of the river. The late Dr. Timuthy Dwight, 
for a long time President of Yale College, in his "Travels in New England in 
says of the locality: 

"There is not in the State a prettier village than the borough of Bridgeport. 
In the year 17*3, there were scarcely half a dozen houses in this place. It dow 
contains probably more than one hundred, built on both sides of Pughquonnuoh 

:;: We n lined this ■• Washington Park " and subsequently presented it to the city. 



(Pequonnock) river, a beautiful mill-stream, forming at its mouth the harbor of 
Bridgeport. The situation of this village is very handsome, particularly on the 
eastern side of the river. A more cheerful and elegant piece of ground can 
scarcely be imagined than the point which stretches between the Pughquonnuck 
and the old mill-brook; and the prospects presented by the harbors at the mouths 
of these streams, the Sound, and the surrounding country, are, in a fine season, 
gay and brilliant, perhaps without a parallel." 

This "cheerful and elegant piece of ground," as Dr. Dwight so truly describes 
it, had only been kept from market by the want of means of access. A new foot- 
bridge was built, connecting this place with the city of Bridgeport, and a public 
toll-bridge which belonged to us, was thrown open to the public free. We also 
obtained from the State Legislature a charter for erecting a toll-bridge between 
the two bridges already existing, and under that charter we put up a fine covered 
draw-bridge at a cost of $16,000, which also we made free to the public for 
several years. We built and leased to a union company of young coach-makers 
a large and elegant coach manufactory, which was one of the first building r 
erected there, and which went into operation on the first of January, 1852, and 
was the beginning of the extensive manufactories which were subsequently built 
in East Bridgeport. 

Besides the inducement which we held out to purchasers to obtain their lots at 
a merely nominal price, we advanced one-half, two-thirds, and frequently all the 
funds necessary to erect their buildings, permitting them to repay us in sums as 
small as five dollars, at their own convenience. This arrangement enabled many 
persons to secure and ultimately pay for homes which they could not otherwise 
have obtained. We looked for our profits solely to the rise in the value of the 
reserved lots, which we were confident must ensue. These extraordinary inductr 
ments led many persons to build in the new city, and it began to develop and 
increase with a rapidity rarely witnessed in this section of the country. 

It will thus be seen that, in 1851, my pet scheme was to build up a city in East 

I can truly say that mere money-making was a secondary consideration in my 
scheme. 1 wanted to build a city on the beautiful plateau across the river; in 
the expressive phrase of the day, I "had East Bridgeport on the brain." Who- 
ever approached me with a project which looked to the advancement of my new 
city, touched my weak side and found me an eager listener, and it was in this 
way that the coming city connected me with that source of so many annoyances 
and woes, the Jerome Clock Company. 

There was a small clock manufactory in the town of Litchfield, Connecticut, in 
which I became a stockholder to the amount of six or seven thousand dollars, 
and my duties as a director in the company called me occasionally to Litchfield 
and made me somewhat acquainted with the clock business. Thinking of plans 
to forward my pet East Bridgeport enterprise, it occurred to me that if the 
Litchfield clock concern could be transferred to my prospective new city, it 
would necessarily bring many families, thus increasing the growth of the place 
and the value of the property. Negotiations were at once commenced and the 
desired transfer of the business was the result. A new stock company was 
formed under the name of the " Terry & Barnum Manufacturing Company 
and in 1852 a factory was built in East Bridgeport. 

In 1855, I received a suggestion from a citizen of New Haven, that the Jerome 
Clock Compaq, then reputed to be a wealth y concern, should be remo\ ed to 
East Bridgeport, and shortly afterwards I was visited at Iranistan by Mr. Chaun- 



cey Jerome, the President of that company. The result of this visit was a 
proposition from the agent of the company, who also held power of attorney for 
the president, that I should lend my name as security for $110,000 in aid of the 
Jerome Clock Company, and the proffered compensation was the transfer of this 
great manufacturing concern, with its seven hundred to one thousand operatives, 
to my beloved East Bridgeport. It was just the bait for the tish; I was all 
attention; yet I must do my judgment the justice to say that I called for proofs, 
strong and ample, that the great company deserved its reputation as a substantial 
enterprise that might safely be trusted. 

Accordingly, I was shown an official report of the directors of the company: 
exhibiting a capital of $400,000, and a surplus of $187,000, in all, $687,000. The 
need for $110,000 more, was on account of a dull season, and the market glutted 
with the goods, and immediate money demands which must be met. I was also 
impressed with the pathetic tale that the company was exceedingly loth to 
dismiss any of the operatives, who would suffer greatly if their only dependence 
for their daily food was taken away. 

The official statement seemed satisfactory, and I cordially sympathized with 
the philanthropic purpose of keeping the workmen employed, even in the dull 
season. The company was reputed to be rich; the President, Mr. Chauncey 
Jerome, had built a church in New Haven, at a cost of $40,000, and proposed to 
present it to a congregation ; he had given a clock to a church in Bridgeport, and 
these things showed that he, at least, thought he was wealthy. The Jerome 
clocks were for sale all over the world, even in China, where the Celestials were 
said to take out the "movements," and use the cases for little temples for their 
idols, thus proving that faith was possible without " works." So wealthy and so 
widely-known a company would surely be a grand acquisition to my city. 

Further testimony came in the form of a letter from the cashier of one of the 
New Haven banks, expressing the highest confidence in the financial strength of 
the concern, and much satisfaction that I contemplated giving temporary aid 
which would keep so many workmen and their families from suffering, and per- 
haps starvation. I had not, at the time, the slightest suspicion that my voluntary 
correspondent had any interest in the transfer of the Jerome Company from Nevv 
Haven to East Bridgeport, though I was subsequently informed that the bank, of 
which my correspondent was the cashier, was almost the largest, if not the 
largest, creditor of the clock company. 

Under all the circumstances, and influenced by the rose-colored representations 
made to me, not less than by my mania to push the growth of my new city, I 
finally accepted the proposition and consented to an agreement that I would lend 
the clock company my notes for a sum not to exceed $50,000, and accept drafts 
to an amount not to exceed $60,000. It was thoroughly understood that I was in 
no case to be responsible for one cent in excess of $110,000. I also received the 
written guaranty of Chauncey Jerome that in no event should I lose by the loan, 
as he would become personally responsible for the repayment. I was willing 
that my notes, when taken up, should be renewed, I eared not how often, pro- 
. the stipulated maximum of $110,000 should never be exceeded. I was 
weak enough, however, under the representation that it was impossible to say 
exactly when it would be necessary to use the notes, to put my name to several 
notes for $3,000, $5,000, and $10,000, leaving the date of payment blank, but it 
was agreed that the blanks should be filled to make the notes payable in hv.-. 
ten, or even sixty days from date, ac .and 

I was careful to keep a memorandum of the several amounts of the notes. 



On the other side it was agreed that the Jerome Company should exchange its 
stock with the Terry & Barnum stockholders and thus absorb that company and 
unite the entire business in East Bridgeport. It was scarcely a month, before the 
secretary wrote me that the company would soon be in a condition to ' ' snap its 
fingers at the banks." 

Nevertheless, three months after the consolidation of the companies, a refer- 
ence to my memoranda showed that I had already become responsible for the 
stipulated sum of $110,000. I was then called upon in New York by the agent, who 
wanted five notes of $5,000 each, and I declined to furnish them, unless I should 
receive in return an equal amount of my own canceled notes, since he assured 
me they were canceling these "every week." The canceled notes were brought 
to me next day, and I renewed them. This I did frequently, always receiving 
canceled notes, till finally my confidence in the company became so established, 
that I did not ask to see the notes that had been taken up, but furnished new 
accommodation paper as it was called for. 

By and by I heard that the banks began to hesitate about discounting my 
paper, and knowing that I was good for $110,000 several times over, I wondered 
what was the matter, till the discovery came at last that my notes had not been 
taken up as was represented, and that some of the blank date notes had been 
made payable in twelve, eighteen, and twenty-four months. Further investiga- 
tion revealed the frightful fact that I had indorsed for the clock company to the 
extent of more than half a million dollars, and most of the notes had been 
exchanged for old Jerome Company notes due to the banks and other creditors. 
My agent who made these startling discoveries came back to me with the refresh- 
ing intelligence that I was a ruined man! 

Not quite; I had the mountain of Jerome debts on my back, but I foimd means 
to pay every claim against me at my bank, all my store and shop debts, notes to 
the amount of $40,000, which banks in my neighborhood, relying upon my per- 
sonal integrity, had discounted for the clock company, and then I — failed! 

What a dupe had I been! Here was a great company pretending to be worth 
$587,000, asking temporary assistance to the amount of $110,000, coming down 
with a crash, so soon as my helping hand was removed, and sweeping me down 
with it. It failed; and, even after absorbing my fortune, it paid but from twelve 
to fifteen per cent, of its obligations, while, to cap the climax, it never removed 
to East Bridgeport at all, notwithstanding this was the only condition which ever 
prompted me to advance one dollar to the rotten concern! 

If at any time my vanity had been chilled by the fear that after my retirement 
from the Jenny Lind enterprise the world would forget me, this affair speedily 
re-assured me; I had notice enough to satisfy the most inordinate craving for 
notoriety. All Over the country, and even across the ocean, "Barnum and the 
Jerome Clock Bubble," was the great newspaper theme. I was taken to pieces, 
analyzed, put together again, kicked, "pitched into," tumbled about, preached 
to, preached about, and made to serve every purpose to which a sensation-loving 
world could put me. Well! I was now in training, in a new school, and was 
learning new and strange lessons. 

Yet these new lessons conveyed the old, old story. There were those who had 
fawned upon me in my prosperity, who now jeered at my adversity; people 
whom I had specially favored, made special efforts to show their ingratitude; 
papers, which, when I had the means to make it an object for them to be on good 
terms with me, overloaded me with adulation, now attempted to overwhelm me 
with abuse: and then the immense amount of moralizing over the " instability of 


human fortunes," and especially the retributive justice that is sure to follow " ill- 
gotten gains," which my censors assumed to be the sum and substance of my 
honorably acquired and industriously worked for property. I have no doubt 
that much of this kind of twaddle was believed by the twaddlers to be sincere ; 
and thus my case was actual capital to certain preachers and religious editors 
who were in want of fresh illustrations wherewith to point their morals. 

I was in the depths, but did not despond. I was confident that with energetic 
purpose and divine assistance, I should, if my health and life were spared, get 
on my feet again; and events have since fully justified and verified the expecta- 
tion and the effort. 



Happily, there is always more wheat than there is chaff. While my enemies 
and a few envious persons and misguided moralists were abusing and traducing 
me, my very misfortunes revealed to me hosts of hitherto unknown friends who 
tendered to me something more than mere sympathy. Funds were offered to me 
in unbounded quantity for the support of my family and to re-establish me in 
business. I declined these tenders because, on principle, I never accepted a money 
favor, unless I except the single receipt of a small sum which came to me by mail 
at this time, and anonymously so that I could not return it. Even this small sum 
I at once devoted to charity towards one who needed the money far more than I 

The generosity of my friends urged me to accept "benefits" by the score, the 
returns of which would have made me quite independent. There was a propo- 
sition among leading citizens in New York to give a series of benefits which I felt 
obliged to decline, though the movement in my favor deeply touched me. To 
show the class of men who sympathized with me in my misfortunes, and also the 
ground which I took in the matter, I venture to copy the f ollojving correspondence 
which appeared in the New York papers of the day: 

New York, June 2, 1856. 
Mr, P. T. Barnum : 

Bear Sir : The financial ruin of a man of acknowledged energy and enterprise is a public 
calamity. The sudden blow, therefore, that has swept away, from a man like yourself, the 
accumulated wealth of years, justifies, we think, the public sympathy. The better to mani- 
fest our sincere respect for your liberal example in prosperity, as well as exhibit our honest 
admiration of your fortitude under overwhelming reverses, we propose to give that sym- 
pathy a tangible expression by soliciting your acceptance of a series of benefits for your 
family, the result of which may possibly secure for your wife and children a future home, or 
at. least rescue them from the more immediate consequences of your misfortune. 

Freeman Hunt, E. K. Collins, Isaac V. Fowler, James Phalen, Cornelius Vanderbilt, P. 
B. Cutting, James W. Gerard, Simeon Draper, Thomas McElrath, Park Godwin. R. F. 
Carman, Gen. C. W. Sanford, Philo Hurd, President H. R. R.; Wm. Ellsworth, President 
Brooklyn Ins. Co.; George S. Doughty, President Excelsior Ins. Co.; Chas. T. Cromwell, 
Robert Stuyvesant, E. L. Livingston, R. Busteed, Wm. P. Fettridge. E. N. Haughwout, 
Geo. F. Nesbitt, Osborne. Boardman & Townsend, Charles H. Delavan, I. & C. Berrien, 
Fisher & Bird, Solomon & Hart, B. Young, M. D., Treadwell, Acker & Co., St. Nicholas 
Hotel, John Wheeler, Union Square Hotel, S. Leland & Co., Metropolitan Hotel, Albert 
Clark, Brevoort House, H. D. Clapp, Everett House. John Taylor, International Hotel, 
Sydney Hopman, Smithsonian Hotel, Messrs. Delmonico, Delmonico's, Geo. W. Sherman, 
Florence's Hotel, Kingsley & Ainslee, Howard Hotel, Libby & Whitney, Lovejoy's Hotel, 
Howard & Bitown, Tammany Hall. Jonas Bartlett, Washington Hotel, Patten & Lynde, 
Pacific Hotel, J. Johnson, Johnson's Hotel, and over 1,000 others. 

To this gratifying communication I replied as follows: 

Long Island, Tuesday, June 3, 1856. 

Gentlemen : I can hardly find words to express my gratitude for your very kind propo- 
sition. The popular sympathy is to me far more precious than gold, and that sympathy 
seems in my case to extend from my immediate neighbors, in Bridgeport, to all parts of our 

Proffers of pecuniary assistance have reached me from every quarter, not only from 
friends, but from entire strangers. Mr. Wm. E. Burton, Miss Laura Keene and Mr. Wm. 
ISiblo have in the kindest manner tendered me the receipts of their theaters fur one eveniDg. 



Mr. Gough volunteered the proceeds of one of his attractive lecture*; Mr. .Tames Phalon 
generously offered me the free use of the Academy of Music; many professional ladies and 
gentlemen have urged me to accept their gratuitous services. I have, on principle, respect- 
Fully declined them all, as 1 beg, with the most grateful acknowledgments (at least for the 
present), to decline yours — not because a benefit, in itself, is an objectionable thing, but 
because I have ever "made it a point to ask nothing of the public on personal grounds, and 
should prefer, while i can possibly avoid that con; . tccept nothing from it without 

the honest conviction that 1 had individually given it In return a full equivalent. 

While favored with health, I feel competent to earn an honest livelihood for myself and 
family. .More than this 1 shall certainly never attempt with such a load of debt suspended 
'at turorem over me. While 1 earnestly thank you, therefore, for your generous cons; 
tion, gentlemen I trust you will appreciate my desire to live unhumilitated by a sense of 
dependence, and believe me, sincerely yours, 

P. T. Barnum. 

To Messrs. Freeman Hunt, E. K. Collins, and others. 

And with other offers of assistance from far and near, came the following from 
a little gentleman who did not forget his old friend and benefactor in the time of 


Jones' Hotel, Philadelphia, May 12, 1856. 
My Dear Mr. Barnum: I understand your friends, and that means "all creation," 
intend to get up some benefits for your family. Now, my dear sir, just be good enough to 
remember that I belong to that mighty crowd, and I must have a finger (or at least a 
"thumb") in that pie! I am bound to appear on all such occasions in some shape, from 
"Jack the Giant Killer," up stairs, to the door-keeper down, whichever may serve you best; 
and there are some feats that I can perform as well as any other man of my inches. I have 
just started out on my western tour, and have my carriage, ponies and assistants all here, 
but i am ready to go on to New York, bag and baggage, and remain at Mrs. Barnuin's 
service as long as I, in my small way. can be nsefnl. Fnt me into any " heavy" work, if 
you like. Perhaps I cannot lift as much as some other folks, but just take your pencil in 
hand and you will s L e I can draw a tremendous load. I drew two hundred tons at a single 
pull to-day, embracing two thousand persons, whom I hauled up safely and satisfactorily to 
all parties, at one exhibition. Hoping that you will be able to fix up a lot of magnets that 
will attract all New York, and volunteering to sit on any part ol the loadstone, I am, as 
ever, your little but sympathizing friend, 

Gen. Tom Thumb 

Even this generous offer from my little friend I felt compelled to refuse. But 
kind words were written and spoken which I could not prevent, nor did I desire 
to do so, and which were worth more to me than money. I should fail to find 
space, if I wished it, to copy one-tenth part of the cordial and land articles and 
paragraphs that appeared about me in newspapers throughout the country. The 
following sentence from an editorial article in a prominent New York journal 
was the key-note to many similar kind notices in all parts of the Union: " It is a 
fact beyond dispute that Mr. Barnum's financial difficulties have accumulated 
from the goodness of his nature; kind-hearted and generous to a fault, it has 
ever been his custom to lend a helping hand to the struggling; and honest industry 
and enterprise have found his friendship prompt and faithful." The Boston Jour- 
nal dwelt especially upon the use I had made of my money in my days of pros 
perity in assisting deserving laboring men and in giving an impulse to bus 
in the town where I resided. It seems only just that I should make this very 
brief allusion to these things, if only as an offset to the unbounded abuse of those 
who believed in kicking me merely because I was down; nor can I refrain from 
copying the following from the Boston Saturday Evening Gazette, of May :>, 



Barnum, your hand! Though you are "down," 

And see full many a frigid shoulder, 
Be brave, my brick, and though they frown, 

Prove that misfortune makes you bolder. 
There's many a man that sneers, my hero, 

And former praise converts to scorning, 
Would worship— when he fears— a Nero, 

And bend "where thrift may follow (awning " 


Yoo humbugged us— that we have seen, 

We got our money's worth, old fellow, 
And though you thought our minds were green, 

We never thought your heart was yellow. 
We knew you liberal, generous, warm, 

Quick to assist a falling brother, 
And. with such virtues, what's the harm 

All memories of your faults to smother? 

We had not heard the peerless Lind, 

But for your spirit enterprising, 
You were the man to raise the wind, 

And make a coup confessed surprising. 
You're reckoned in your native town 

A friend in need, a friend in danger, 
You ever keep the latchstring down, 

And greet with open hand the stranger. 

Stiffen your upper lip. You know 
Who are your friends and who your foes now; 

We pay for knowledge as we go ; 
And though you get some sturdy blows now, 

You've a fair field — no favors crave — 
The storm once passed will find you braver— 

In virtue's cause long may you wave, 
And on the right side, never waver. 

Desirous of knowing who was the author of this kindly effusion, I wrote, 
while preparing this autobiography, to Mr. B. P. Shillaber, one of the editors of 
the journal, and well known to the public as "Mrs. Partington." In reply, I 
received the following letter in which it will be seen that he makes sympathetic 
allusion to the burning of my last Museum, only a few weeks before the date of 
ins letter: 

Chelsea, April 25, 1868. 

My Dear Mr. Barnum : The poem in question was written by A. Wallace Thaxter, 
associate editor with Mr. Clapp and myself, on the Gazette— since deceased, a glorious 
fellow — who wrote the poem from a sincere feeling of admiration for yourself. Mr. Clapp, 
(Hon. W. W. Clapp,) published it with his full approbation. I heard of your new trouble, in 
my sick chamber, where I have been all winter, with regret, and wish you as ready a release 
from attending difficulty as your genius has hitherto achieved under like circumstances. 

Yours, very truly, 

B. P. Shelxaber. 

But the manifestations of sympathy which came to me from Bridgeport, where 
my home had been for more than ten years, were the most gratifying of all, 
because they showed unmistakably that my best friends, those who were most 
constant in their friendship and most emphatic in their esteem, were my neighbors 
and associates who, of all people, knew me best. With such support I could 
easily endure the attacks of traducers elsewhere. The New York Times, April 
25, 1856, under the head of "Sympathy for Barnum," published a full report of 
the meeting of my fellow-citizens of Bridgeport, the previous evening, to take 
my case into consideration. 

In response to a call headed by the mayor of the city, and signed by several 
hundred citizens, this meeting was held in Washington Hall "for the purpose of 
sympathizing with P. T. Barnum, Esq., in his recent pecuniary embarrassments, 
and of giving some public expression to their views in reference to his financial 
misfortunes." It was the largest public meeting which, up to that time, had ever 
been held in Bridgeport. Several prominent citizens made addresses, and reso- 
lutions were adopted, declaring "that respect and sympathy were due to P. T. 
Barnum in return for his many acts of liberality, philanthropy and public spirit," 
expressing unshaken confidence in his integrity, admiration for the "fortitude 
and composure with which he has met reverses into which he has been dragged 


through no fault of his own except a too generous confidence in pretended friends, " 
and hoping that he would "yet return to that wealth which he has so nobly- 
employed, and to the community he has so signally benefited." During the evening 
the following letter was read: 

New York, Thursday, April 24, 1856. 
Wm. H. Noble, Esq., 

Dear Sir: I have just received a slip containing; a call for a public meeting of the citizens 
of Bridgeport to sympathize with me in my troubles. It i< headed by His Honor the Mayor, 
and is signed by most of your prominent citizens, as well as by many men who by bard 
labor earn their daily bread, and who appreciate a calamity which at a single blow strips a 
man of his fortune, his dear home, and all the worldly comforts which years of diligent 
labor had acquired. It is due to truth to say that I knew nothing of this movement until 
your letter informed me of it. 

In misfortune the true sympathy of neighbors is more consoling and precious than any- 
thing which money can purchase. This voluntary offering of my fellow-citizens, though it 
thrills me with painful emotions and causes tears of gratitude, yet imparts to me renewed 
strength, and tills my heart with thankfulness to Providence for raising up to my si^ht, 
above all this wreck, kind hearts which soar above the sordid atmosphere of " dirty dollars." 
I can never forget this unexpected kindness from my old friends and neighbors. 

I trust I am not blind to my many laults and shortcomings. I. however, do feel great 
consolation in believing that I never used money or po-ition to oppress the poor or wrong 
my fellow-men, and that I never turned empty away those whom I had the power to ae 

My poor sick wife, who needs the bracing air which our own dear home (made beauti- 
ful by her willing hands) would now have afforded her, is driven by the orders of her 
physician to a secluded spot on Long Island where the sea-wind lends its healthful influence, 
and where I have also retired for the double purpose of consoling her and of recruiting,' my 
own constitution, which, through the excitements of the las: few months, has most seriously 
failed me. 

In our quiet and humble retreat, that which I most sincerely pray for is tranquillity and 
contentment. I am sure that the remembrance of the kindness of my Bridgeport neighbors 
will aid me in securing these cherished bk-s-ings. No man who has not passed through 
similar scenes can fully comprehend the misery which has heen crowded into the last few 
months of my life ; but I have endeavored to preserve my integrity, and I humbly hope and 
believe that I am being taught humility and reliance upon Providence, which will yet afford 
a thousand times more peace and true happiness than can be acquired in the din, strife and 
turmoil, excitements and struggles of this money-worshipping age. The man who coin- his 
brains and blood into gold, who wastes all of his time and thought upon the aim. 
dollar, who looks no higher than blocks of houses, and tracts of land, and whose iron 
chest is crammed with stocks and mortgages tied up with his own heart-strings, may con- 
sole himself with the idea of safe investments, but he misses a pleasure which I firmly 
believe this lesson was intended to secure to me, and which it will secure if I can fully brin£ 
my mind to realize its wisdom. I think I hear you say— 

"When the devil was sick, 
The devil a saint would be, 
But when the devil got well. 
The devil a saint was he." 

Granted, but, after all, the man who looks upon the loss of money as anything compared 
to the loss of honor, or health, or self-respect, or friends— a man who can find no source of 
happiness except in riches— is to be pitied for his blindness. I certainly feel that the loss 
of money, of home and my home comforts, is dreadful— that to be driven again to find a 
resting-place away from those I love, and from where I had fondly supposed I was to end 
my day*, and where I had lavished time, money, everything, to make my descent to the 
grave placid and pleasant — is. indeed, a severe lesson ; but, after all. I firmly believe it is 
for the best, and though my heart may break, I will not repine. 

I regret, beyond expression, that any man should be a loser for haying trusted to my 
name ; it would not have been so, if I had not myself been deceived. As it is, I am grati- 
fied in knowing that all my individual obligations will be met. It would have been much 
better if clock creditors had accepted the best oiler that it was in my power to make them; 
but it was not so to be. It is now too late, and, as I willingly give up all I possess, I can do 
no more. 

Wherever my future lot may be cast, I shall ever fondly cherish the kindness which I have 
always received from the citizens of Bridgeport. 

I am, my dear sir, truly yours, 


Shortly after this sympathetic meeting, a number of gentlemen in Bridgeport 
offered me a loan of $50,000 if that sum wotild be instrumental in extricating me 
from my entanglement. I could not say that this amount would meet the 
exigency; I could only say, "wait, wait, and hope." 


Meanwhile, my eyes were fully open to the entire magnitude of tne deception 
that had been practiced upon my too confiding nature. I not only discovered 
that my notes had been used to five times the amount I stipulated or expected, 
but that they had been applied, not to relieving the company from temporary 
embarrassment after my connection with it, but almost wholly to the redemption 
of old and rotten claims of years and months gone by. To show the extent to 
which the fresh victim was deliberately bled, it may be stated that I was induced 
to become surety to one of the New Haven banks in the sum of $30,000 to idem- 
nify the bank against future losses it might incur from the Jerome Company after 
my connection with it, and by some legerdemain this bond was made to cover 
past obligations which were older even than my knowledge of the existence of 
the company. In every way it seemed as if I had been cruelly swindled and 
deliberately defrauded. 

As the clock company had gone to pieces and was paying but from twelve to 
fifteen per cent, for its paper, I sent two of my friends to New Haven to ask for 
a meeting of the creditors, and I instructed them to say in substance for me as 

" Gentlemen: This is a capital, practical joke! Before I negotiated with your 
clock company at all, I was assured by several of you, and particularly by a 
representative of the bank which was the largest creditor of the concern, that 
the Jerome Company was eminently responsible, and that the head of the same 
was uncommonly pious. On the strength of such representations solely, I was 
induced to agree to indorse and accept paper for that company to the extent of 
§110,000 — no more. That sum I am now willing to pay for my own verdancy, 
with an additional sum of §40,000 for your 'cuteness, making a total of $150,000, 
which you can have if you cry 'quits' with the fleeced showman and let him 

Many of the old creditors favored this proposition; but it was found that the 
indebtedness was so scattered it would be impracticable to attempt a settlement 
by an unanimous compromise of the creditors. It was necessary to liquidation 
that my property should go into the hands of assignees; I therefore at once 
turned over my Bridgeport property to Connecticut assignees, a.nd I removed 
my family to New York, where I also made an assignment of all my real and 
personal estate, excepting what had already been transferred in Connecticut. 

About this time I received a letter from Philadelphia proffering $500 in case 
my circumstauces were such that I really stood in need of help. The very 
wording of the letter awakened the suspicion in my mind, that it was a trick 
to ascertain whether I really had any property, for I knew that banks and 
brokers in that city held some of my Jerome paper which they refused to com- 
pound or compromise. So I at once wrote that I did need §500, and, as I expected, 
the money did not come, nor was my letter answered ; but, as a natural conse- 
quence, the Philadelphia bankers who were holding the Jerome paper for a higher 
percentage, at once acceded to the terms which I had announced myself able and 
willing to pay. 

Every dollar which I honestly owed on my own account, I had already paid 
in full or had satisfactorily arranged. For the liabilities incurred by the delib- 
erate deception which had involved me, I offered such a percentage as I thought 
my estate, when sold, would eventually pay; and my wife, from her own 
property, advanced from time to time money to take up such notes as could bp 
secured upon these terms. It was, however, a slow process. 


We were now living in a very frugal manner in a hired furnished house in 
Eighth street, near Sixth avenue, in New York, and our landlady and her f amil y 
boarded with us. At the age of forty-six, after the acquisition and the loss of a 
handsome fortune, I was once more nearly at the bottom of the ladder, and was 
about to begin the world again. The situation was disheartening, but I had 
energy, experience, health and Lope. 



In the slimmer of 1855, previous to my financial troubles, feeling that I was 
independent and could retire from active business, I sold the American Museum 
collection and good-will to Messrs. John Greenwood, Junior, and Henry D. But- 
ler. They paid me double the amount the collection had originally cost, giving me 
notes for nearly the entire amount, secured by a chattel mortgage, and hired the 
premises from my wife, who owned the Museum property lease, and on which, 
by the agreement of Messrs. Greenwood and Butler, she realized a profit of 
-319,000 a year. The chattel mortgage of Messrs. Greenwood and Butler, was, of 
course, turned over to the New York assignee with the other property. 

And now there came to me a new sensation, which was, at times, terribly 
depressing and annoying. My wide-spread reputation for shrewdness as a show- 
man, had induced the general belief that my means were still ample, and certain 
outside creditors who had bought my clock notes at a tremendous discount, and 
entirely on speculation, made up their minds that they must be paid at once 
without waiting for the slow process of the sale of my property by the assignees. 

They therefore took what are termed "supplementary proceedings," which 
enabled them to haul me any day before a judge, for the purpose, as they 
phrased it, of " putting Barnum through a course of sprouts," and which meant 
an examination of the debtor under oath, compelling him to disclose everything 
with regard to his property, his present means of living, and so on. 

I repeatedly answered all questions on these points; and reports of the daily 
examinations were published. Still another and another, and yet another cred- 
itor would haul me up; and his attorney would ask me the same questions which 
had already been answered and published half a dozen times. This persistent 
and unnecessary annoyance, created considerable sympathy for me, which was 
not only expressed by letters I received daily from various parts of the country, 
but the public press, with now and then an exception, took my part, and even the 
judges, before whom I appeared, said to me on more than one occasion, that as 
men they sincerely pitied me, but as judges, of course they must administer the 
law. After a while, however, the judges ruled that T need not answer any 
questions propounded to me by an attorney, if I had already answered the same 
question to some other attorney in a previous examination in behalf of other 
creditors. In fact, one of the judges, on one occasion, said pretty sharply to an 
examining attorney: 

" This, sir, has become simply a case of persecution. Mr. Barnum has many 
times answered every question that can properly be put to him, to elicit the 
desired information; and I think it is time to stop these examinations, I advise 
him to not answer one interrogatory which he has replied to under any previous 
inquiries. " % 

These things gave me some heart, so that at last, I went up to the "sprouts" 
with less reluctance, and began to try to pay off my persecutors in their own 



On on© occasion, a dwarfish little lawyer, who reminded me of " Quilp," com- 
menced his examination in behalf of a note-shaver, who held a thousand-dollar 
note, which it seemed he had bought for seven hundred dollars. After the oath 
had been administered, the " limb of the law" arranged his pen, ink and paper, 
and in a loud voice, and with a most peremptory and supercilious air, asked: 

"What is you name, sir? " 

I answered him; and his next question, given in a louder and more peremptory 
tone, was: 

" What is your business?" 

" Attending bar," I meekly replied. 

"Attending bar!" he echoed, with an appearance of much surprise; "attend- 
ing bar ! Why, don't you profess to be a temperance man— a teetotaler? " 

"I do," I replied. 

" And yet, sir, do you have the audacity to assert that you peddle rum all day, 
and drink none yourself? " 

" I doubt whether that is a relevant question," I said in a low tone of voice. 

"I will appeal to his honor, the judge, if you don't answer it instantly," said 
Quilp in great glee. 

"I attend bar, and yet never drink intoxicating liquors," I replied. 

'' Where do you attend bar, and for whom?" was the next question. 

" I attend the bar of this court, nearly every day, for the benefit of two-penny, 
would-be lawyers and their greedy clients," I answered. 

A loud tittering in the vicinity only added to the vexation which was already 
visible on the countenance of my interrogator, and he soon brought his examina- 
tion to a close. 

On another occasion, a young lawyer was pushing his inquiries to a great length, 
when, in a half laughing, apologetic tone, he said: 

" You see, Mr. Barnum, I am searching after the small things; I am willing to 
take even the crumbs which fall from the rich man's table! " 

"Which are you, Lazarus, or one of his dogs?" I asked. 

" I guess a blood-hound would not smell out much on this trail," he said good 
naturedly, adding that he had no more questions to ask. 

Just after my failure, and on account of the ill-health of my wife, I spent a 
portion of the summer with my family in the farmhouse of Mr. Charles Howell, 
at "ffi esthampton, on Long Island. The place is a mile west of Quogue, and 
was then called " Ketchebonneck. " The thrifty and intelligent farmers of the 
neighborhood were in the habit of taking summer boarders, and the place 
had become a favorite resort. Mr. Howell's farm lay close upon the ocean, 
and I found the residence a cool and delightful one. Surf bathing, fishing, 
shooting and fine roads for driving made the season pass pleasantly, and the 
respite from active life and immediate annoyance from my financial troubles 
was a very great benefit to me. 

One morning we discovered that the waves had thrown upon the beach a young 
black whale some twelve feet long. It was dead, but the fish was hard and fresh 
and I bought it for a few dollars from the men who had taken possession of it. I 
sent it at once to the Museum, where it was exhibited in a huge refrigerator for a 
few days, creating considerable excitement, the general public considering it "a 
big thing on ice," and the managers gave me a share of the profits, which 
amounted to a sufficient sum to pay the entire board bill of my family for the 


This incident both amused and amazed my Long Island landlord. "Well, 1 
declare," said he, "that beats all; you are the luckiest man I ever heard of. Here 
you come and board for four months, with your family, and when your time is 
nearly up, and you are getting ready to leave, out rolls a black whale on our 
beach, a thing never heard of before in this vicinity, and you take that whale 
and pay your whole bill with it." 

Soon after my return to New York, something occurred which I foresaw at the 
time, was likely indirectly to lead me out of the wilderness into a clear field again. 
Strange to say, my new city, which had been my ruin was to be my redemption. 

The now gigantic Wheeler & Wilson Sewing Machine Company was then doing 
a comparatively small, yet rapidly growing business at Watertown, Connecticut. 
The Terry & Barnum clock factory was standing idle, almost worthless, in East 
Bridgeport, and Wheeler & Wilson saw in the empty building, the situation, the 
ease of communication with New York, and other advantages, precisely what they 
wanted, provided they could procure the premises at a rate which would compen- 
sate them for the expense and trouble of removing their establishment from 
Watertown. The clock factory was sold for a trifle and the Wheeler & Wilson 
Company moved into it and speedily enlarged it. It was a fresh impulse towards 
the building up of a new city and the consequent increase of the value of the 
land belonging to my estate. 

This important movement of the Wheeler & Wilson Company gave me the 
greatest hope, and, moreover, Mr. Wheeler kindly offered me a loan of 85,000, 
without security, and, as I was anxious to have it used in purchasing the East 
Bridgeport property, when sold at public auction by my assignees, and also in taking 
up such clock notes as could be bought at a reasonable percentage, 1 accepted the 
offer and borrowed the $5,000. This sum, with many thousand dollars more 
belonging to my wife, was devoted to these purposes. 

Though the new plan promised relief , and actually did succeed, even beyond 
my most sanguine expectations, eventually putting more money into my pocket 
than the Jerome complication had taken out — yet I also foresaw that the process 
would necessarily be very slow. In fact, two years afterwards I had made very 
little progress. But I concluded to let the new venture work out itself and it 
would go on as well without my personal presence and attention, perhaps even 
better. Growing trees, money at interest, and rapidly rising real estate, work 
for their owners all night as well as all day, Sundays included, and when the pro- 
prietors are asleep or away, and with the design of co-operating in the new accu- 
mulation and of saving something to add to the amount, I made up my mind to 
go to Europe again. I was anxious for a change of scene and for active employ- 
ment, and equally desirous of getting away from the immediate pressure of 
troubles which no effort on my part could then remove. While my affairs were 
working out themselves in then* own way and in the speediest manner possible, I 
might be doing something for myself and for my family. 

Accordingly, leaving all my business affairs at home in the hands of my friends, 
early in 1857 I set sail once more for England, taking with me General Tom 
Thumb, and also little Cordelia Howard and her parents. This young girl had 
attained an extended reputation for her artistic personation of "Little Eva," in 
the play of " Uncle Tom," and she displayed a precocious talent in her rendering 
of other juvenile characters. With these attractions, and with what else I might 
be able to do myself, I determined to make as much money as I could, intending 
to remit the same to my wife's friends, for the purpose of re-purchasing a portion 
of my estate, when it was offered at auction, and of redeeming such of the clock 
uotes as could be obtained at reasonable rates. 



When I reached London, I found Mr. Albert Smith, who, when I first knew 
him, was a dentist, a literary hack, a contributor to Punch, and a writer for the 
magazines, now transformed to a first-class showman in the full tide of success, 
in my own old exhibition quarters in Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly. He was exhib- 
iting a panorama of his ascent of Mont Blanc. His lecture was full of amusing 
aud interesting incidents, illustrative of his remarkable experiences in accom- 
plishing the difficult feat. 

Calling upon Albert Smith, I found him the same kind, cordial friend as ever, 
and he at once put me on the free list at his entertainment, and insisted upon my 
dining frequently with him at his favorite club, the Garrick. 

The first time I witnessed his exhibition, he gave me a sly wink from the stage 
at the moment of his describing a scene in the golden chamber of St. Ursula's 
church in Cologne, where the old sexton was narrating the story of the ashes and 
bones of the eleven thousand innocent virgins, who, according to tradition, were 
sacrificed on a certain occasion. One of the characters whom he pretended to 
have met several times on his trip to Mont Blanc, was a Yankee, whom he 
named " Phineas Cutecraft." The wink came at the time he introduced Phineas 
in the Cologne Church, and made him say at the end of the sexton's story about 
the Virgins' bones : 

"Old fellow, what will you take for that hull lot of bones? I want them for 
my Museum in America ! " 

When the question had been interpreted to the old German, he exclaimed hi 
horror, according to Albert Smith : 

" Mine Gott! it is impossible 1 We will never sell the Virgins' bones! " 

"Never mind," replied Phineas Cutecraft, "I'll send another lot of bones to 
my Museum, swear mine are the real bones of the Virgins of Cologne, and burst 
up your show!" 

This always excited the heartiest laughter; but Mr. Smith knew very well that 
I would at once recognize it as a pharaphrase of the scene wherein he had figured 
with me, in 1844, at the porter's lodge of Warwick Castle. In the course of the 
entertainment, I found he had woven in numerous anecdotes I had told him at 
that time, and many incidents of our excursion were also travestied and made to 
contribute to the interest of his description of the ascent of Mont Blanc. 

When we went to the Garrick club that day, Albert Smith introduced me to 
several of his acquaintances as his "teacher in the show business." As we were 
quietly dining together, he remarked that I must have recognized several old 
acquaintances in the anecdotes at his entertainment. Upon my answering that I 
did, "indeed," he remarked, "you are too old a showman not to know that in 
order to be popular, we must snap up and localize all the good things which we 
come across." By thus engrafting his various experiences upon this Mont Blanc 
entertainment, Albert Smith succeeded in serving up a salmagundi feast which 
was relished alike by royal and less distinguished palates. 



When the late William M. Thackeray made his first visit to the United States, 
I think in 1852, he called on me at the Museum with a letter of introduction from 
our mutual friend, Albert S^pth. He spent an hour with me, mainly for the 
purpose of asking advice in regard to the management of the course of lectures 
on "The English Humorists of the Eighteenth Century," which he proposed to 
deliver, as he did afterwards, with very great success, in the principal cities of the 
Union. I gave him the best advice I could as to management, and the cities he 
ought to visit, for which he was very grateful and he called on me whenever he 
was in New York. I also saw him repeatedly when he came to America the 
second time with his admirable lectures on " The Four Georges," which, it will be 
remembered, he delivered in the United States in the season of 1855-56, before he 
read them to audiences in Great Britain. My relations with this great novelist, I 
am proud to say, were cordial and intimate ; and now, when I called upon him, 
in 1857, at his own house, he grasped me heartily by the hand and said: 

"Mr. Barnum, I admire you more than ever. I have read the accounts in the 
papers of the examinations you underwent in the New York courts; and the 
positive pluck you exhibit under your pecuniary embarrassments is worthy of all 
praise. You would never have received credit for the philosophy you manifest, if 
these financial misfortunes had not overtaken you." 

I thanked him for bis compliment, and he continued: 

"But tell me, Barnum, are you really in need of present assistance? for if you 
are you must be helped." 

"Not in the least," I replied, laughing; "I need more money in order to get 
out of bankruptcy, and I intend to earn it; but so far as daily bread is concerned, 
I am quite at ease, for my wife is worth £30,000 or £40,000." 

"Is it possible?" he exclaimed, with evident delight; "well, now, you have 
lost all my sympathy; why, that is more than I ever expect to be worth; I shall 
be sony for you no more." 

During my stay in London, I met Thackeray several times, and on one occasion 
t dined with him. He repeatedly expressed his obligations to me for the advice 
and assistance I had given him on the occasion of his first lecturing visit to the 
United States. 

Otto Goldschmidt, the husband of Jenny Lind, also called on me in London. 
He and his wife were then living in Dresden, and he said the first thing his wife 
desired him to ask me was, whether I was in want! I assured him that I was not, 
although I was managing to live in an economical way, and my family would 
soon come over to reside in London. He then advised me to take them to Dres- 
den, saying that living was very cheap there; and, he added, "my wife will 
gladly look up a proper house for you to live in." I thankfully declined his 
proffered kindness, as Dresden was too far away from my business. 

My old friends, Julius Benedict and Giovanni Belletti, called on me and we had 
some very pleasant dinners together, when we talked over incidents of their 
travels in America, Among the gentlemen whom I met in London, some of them 
quite frequently at dinners, were Mr. George Augustus Sala, Mr. Edmund Yates, 
Mr. Horace Mayhew, Mr. Alfred Bunn, Mr. Lumley, of Her Majesty's Theater, 
Mr. Buckstone, of the Haymarket, Mr. Charles Kean, our princely countrymen 
Mr , George Peabody, Mr. J. M. Morris, the manager, Mr. Bates, of Baring, 
Brothers & Co., Mr. Oxenford, dramatic critic of the London Times, Dr. Ballard, 
the American dentist, and many other eminent persons. 

I had numerous offers from professional friends, on both sides of the Atlantic, 
who supposed me to be in need of employment. Mr. Barney Williams, who had 



not then acted in England, proposed, in the kindest manner, to make me his agent 
for a tour through Great Britain, and to give me one-third of the profits which he 
and Mrs. "Williams might make by their acting. Mr. S. M. Pettengill, of New York, 
the newspaper advertising agent, offered me the fine salary of $10,000 a year to 
transact business for him in Great Britain. He wrote to me : " When you failed in 
consequence of the Jerome clock notes, I felt that your creditors were dealing 
hard with you; that they should have let you up and give you a chance, and they 
would have fared better, and I wish I was a creditor so as to show what I would 
do." These offers, both from Mr. Williams and Mr. Pettengill, I felt obliged to 

Mr. Lumley, manager of Her Majesty's Theater, used to send me an order for 
a private box for every opera night, and I frequently availed myself of his 

Meanwhile, I was by no means idle. Cordelia Howard as "Little Eva," with 
her mother as the inimitable "Topsy," were highly successful in London and 
other large cities, while General Tom Thumb, returning after so long an absence, 
drew crowded houses wherever he went. These were strong spokes in the wheel 
that was moving slowly but surely in the effort to get me out of debt, and, if 
possible, to save some portion of my real estate. Of course, it was not generally 
known that I had any interest whatever in either of these exhibitions; if it had 
been, possibly some of the clock creditors would have annoyed me ; but I busied 
myself in these and in other ways, working industriously and making much 
money, which I constantly remitted to my trusty agent at home. 



After a pleasant and successful season of several weeks in London and in the 
provinces, I took the little General into Germany, going from London to Paris, 
and from thence to Strasbourg and Baden-Baden. 

I dreaded to pass the custom-house at Kebl nearly opposite Strasbourg, and 
the first town on the German border at that point. I knew that I had no bag- 
gage which was rightfully subject to duty, as I had nothing but my necessary 
clothing, and the package of placards and lithographs, illustrating the General's 
exhibitions. As the official was examining my trunks, I assured him in French, 
that I had nothing subject to duty; but he made no reply and deliberately hand- 
led every article in my luggage. He then cut the strings to the large packages of 
show-bills. I asked him in French, whether he understood that language. He 
gave a grunt, which was the only audible sound I could get out of him, and then 
laid my show-bills and lithographs on his scales as if to weigh them. I was much 
excited. An English gentleman, who spoke German, kindly offered to act as my 

''Please to tell him, " said 1, "that those bills and lithographs are not articles 
of commerce; that they are simply advertisements." 

My English friend did as I requested; but it was of no use; the custom-house 
officer kept piling them upon his scales. I grew more excited. 

" Please tell him I give them away," I said. The translation of my assertion 
into German did not help me; a double grunt from the functionary, was the only 
response. Tom Thumb, meanwhile, jumped about like a little monkey, for he 
was fairly delighted at my worry and perplexity. Finally, I said to my new 
found English friend: "Be good enough to tell the officer to keep the bills if he 
wants them, and that I will not pay duty on them, any how." * 

He was duly informed of my determination, but he was immovable. He 
lighted his huge Dutch pipe, got the exact weight, and, marking it down, handed 
it to a clerk, who copied it on his book, and solemnly passed it over to another 
clerk, who copied it on still another book; a third clerk then took it, and copied it 
on to a printed bill, the size of a half letter sheet, which was duly stamped in red 
ink with several official devices. By this time, I was in a profuse perspiration ; 
and, as the document passed from clerk to clerk, I told them they need not trouble 
themselves to make out a bill, for I would not pay it; they would get no duty and 
they might keep the property. 

To be sure, I could not spare the placards for any length of time, for they were 
exceedingly valuable to me as advertisements, and I could not easily have dupli- 
cated them in Germany; but I was determined that I would not pay duties on 
articles which were not merchandise. Every transfer, therefore, of the bill to a 
new clerk, gave me a fresh twinge, for I imagined that every clerk added more 
charges, and that every charge was a tighter turn to the vise which held my 
fingers. Finally, the last clerk defiantly thrust in my face the terrible official 

* See Illustration, page 156. 



document, on which were scrawled certain cabalistic characters, signifying the 
a uount of money I should be forced to pay to the German government before 1 
could have my property. I would not touch it; but resolved I would really leave 
my packages until I could communicate with one of our consuls in Germany, and 
I said as much to the English gentleman who had kindly interpreted for me. 

He took the bill, and, examining it, burst into a loud laugh. " Why, it is but 
fifteen kreutzers! " he said. 

"How much is that?" I asked, feeling for the golden sovereigns in my pocket 

" Sixpence ! " was the reply. 

I was astonished and delighted, and, as I handed out the money, I begged him 
to tell the officials that the custom-house charge would not pay the cost of the 
paper on which it was written. But this was a very fair illustration of sundry 
red-tape dealings in other countries as well as in Germany. 

I found Baden a delightful little town, cleaner and neater than any city I had 
ever visited. 

When our preliminary arrangements were completed, the General's attendants, 
carriage, ponies and liveried coachmen and footmen arrived at Baden-Baden, and 
were soon seen in the streets. The excitement was intense and increased from 
day to day. Several crowned heads, princes, lords and ladies, who were spend- 
ing the season at Baden-Baden, with a vast number of wealthy pleasure-seekers 
and travelers, crowded the saloon in which the General exhibited, during the 
entire time we remained in the place. The charges for admission were much 
higher than had been demanded in any other city. 

From Baden-Baden we went to other celebrated German Spas, including 
Ems, Homburg and Weisbaden. These were all fashionable gambling as well as 
watering places, and during our visits they were crowded with visitors from all 
parts of Europe. Our exhibitions were attended by thousands who paid the 
same high prices that were charged for admission at Baden-Baden, and at Wies- 
baden, among many distinguished persons, the King of Holland came to see the 
little General These exhibitions were among the most profitable that had ever 
been given, and I was able to remit thousands of dollars to my agents in the 
United States, to aid in re-purchasing my real estate, and to assist in taking up 
such clock notes as were offered for sale. A short but very remunerative season 
at Frankf ort-on-tne-Maine, the home and starting-place of the great house of the 
Rothschilds, assisted me largely in carrying out these purposes. 

We exhibited at Mayence, and several other places in the vicinity, reaping 
golden harvests everywhere, and then went down the Rhine to Cologne. 

We remained at Cologne only long enough to visit the famous cathedral and to 
see other curiosities and works of ait, and then pushed on to Rotterdam and 



Holland gav« me more genuine satisfaction than any other foreign country 1 
have ever visited, if I except Great Britain. Redeemed as a large portion of the 
whole surface of the land has been from the bottom of the sea, by the wonderful 
dykes, which are monuments of the industry of whole generations of human 
beavers, Holland seems to me the most curious, as well as interesting country in 
the world. The people, too, with their quaint costumes, their extraordinary 
cleanliness, their thrift, industry and frugality, pleased me very much. It is the 
universal testimony of all travelers, that the Hollanders are the neatest and 
most economical people among all nations. So far as cleanliness is concerned, in 
Holland it is evidently not next to, but far ahead of godliness. It is rare, indeed, 
to meet a ragged, dirty, or drunken person. The people are very temperate and 
economical in their habits; and even the very rich — and there is a vast amount 
of wealth in the country — live with great frugality, though all of the people live 

As for the scenery, I cannot say much for it, since it is only diversified by 
thousands of windmills, which are made to do all kinds of work, from grinding 
grain to pumping water from the inside of the dykes back to the sea again. As 
I exhibited the General only in Rotterdam and Amsterdam, and to no great 
profit in either city, we spent most of our time in rambling: about to see what 
was to be seen. In the country villages it seemed as if every house was scrubbed 
twice and whitewashed once every day in the week, excepting Sunday. Some 
places were almost painfully pure, and I was in one village where horses and cattle 
were not allowed to go through the streets, and no one was permitted to wear 
their boots or shoes in the houses. There is a general and constant exercise of 
brooms, pails, floor-brushes and mops all over Holland, and in some places, even, 
this kind of thing is carried so far, I am told, that the only trees set out are 

The reason, I think, why our exhibitions were not more successful in Rotter- 
dam and Amsterdam, is that the people are too frugal to spend much money for 
amusements, but they and their habits and ways afforded us so much amusement, 
that we were quite w illin g they should give our entei-tainment the "go by," as 
they generally did. We were in Amsterdam at the season of " Kremis," or the 
annual fair which is held in all the principal towns, and where shows of all 
descriptions are open, at prices for admission ranging from one to five pennies, 
and are attended by nearly the whole population. For the people generally, this 
one great holiday seems all-sufficient for the whole year. I went through scores 
of booths, where curiosities and monstrosities of all kinds were exhibited, and 
was able to make some purchases and engagements for the American Museum. 
Among these, was the Albino family consisting of a man, his wife, and son, 
who were by far the most interesting and attractive spe cimens of their class I 
had ever seen. 

We visited the Hague, the capital and the finest city in Holland. It is hand- 
somely and regularly laid out, and contains a beautiful theater, a public picture 



gallery, which contains some of the best works of Vandyke, Paul Potter, and 
other Dutch masters, while the museum is especially rich in rarities from China 
and Japan. When we arrived at the Hague, Mr. August Belmont, who had been 
the United States Minister at that court, had just gone home; but I heard many 
encomiums passed upon him and his family, and I was told some pretty good 
stories of his familiarity with the king, and of the "jolly times" these two per- 
sonages frequently enjoyed together. I did not miss visiting the great govern- 
ment museum, as I wished particularly to see the rich collection of Japan ware 
and arms, made during the many years when the Dutch carried on almost exclu- 
sively the entire foreign trade with the Japanese. I spent several days in 
minutely examining these curious manufactures of a people who were then 
almost as little known to nations generally as are the inhabitants of the planet 

On the first day of my visit to this museum, I stood for an hour before a large 
case containing a most unique and extraordinary collecion of fabulous animals, 
made from paper and other materials, and looking as natural and genuine as the 
stuffed skins of any animals in the American Museum. There were serpents two 
yards long, with a head and pair of feet at each end; frogs as large as a man, 
with human hands and feet; turtles with three heads; monkeys with two heads 
and six legs; scores of equally curious monstrosities; and at least two dozen 
mermaids, of all sorts and sizes. Looking at these "sirens "I easily divined from 
whence the Feejee mermaid originated. 

After a truly delightful visit in Holland, we went back to England ; and, pro- 
ceeding to Manchester, opened our exhibition. For several days the hall was 
crowded to overflowing at each of the three, and sometimes four, entertainments 
we gave every day. By this time, my wife and two youngest daughters had come 
over to London, and I hired furnished lodgings in the suburbs where they could 
live within the strictest limits of economy. It was necessary now for me to 
return for a few weeks to America, to assist personally in forwarding a settle- 
ment of the clock difficulties. So leaving the little General in the hands of trusty 
and competent agents to carry on the exhibitions in my absence, I set my face 
once more towards home and the west, and took steamer at Liverpool for New 

The trip, like most of the passages which I have made across the Atlantic, was 
an exceedingly pleasant one. These frequent voyages were to me the rests, the 
reliefs from almost unremitting industry, anxiety, and care, and I always man- 
aged to have more or less fun on board ship every time I crossed the ocean. 
During the present trip, for amusement and to pass away the time, the passengers 
got up a number of mock trials, which afforded a vast deal of fun. A judge was 
selected, jurymen drawn, prisoners arraigned, counsel employed, and all the 
formalities of a court established. I have the vanity to think that if my good 
fortune had directed me to that profession, I should have made a very fair 
lawyer, for I have always had a great fondness for debate and especially for the 
cross-examination of witnesses, unless that witness was P. T. Barnum in examin- 
ation under supplementary proceedings at the instance of some note-shaver, who 
had bought a clock note at a discount of thirty-six per cent. In this mock court, 
I was unanimously chosen as prosecuting attorney, and, as the court was estab- 
lished expressly to convict, I had no difficulty in carrying the jury and securing 
the punishment of the prisoner. A small fine was generally imposed, and the 
fund thus collected was given to a poor sailor boy who had fallen from the mast 
and broken his leg. 


After several of these trials had been held, a dozen or more of the passengers 
secretly put their heads together and resolved to place the " showman " on trial 
for his life. An indictment, covering twenty pages, was drawn up by several 
legal gentlemen among the passengers, charging him with being the Prince of 
Humbugs, and enumerating a dozen special counts, containing charges of the most 
absurd and ridiculous description. Witnesses were then brought together, and 
privately instructed what to say and do. Two or three days were devoted to 
arranging this mighty prosecution. When everything was ready, I was arrested, 
and the formidable indictment read tome. I saw at a glance that time and talent 
had been brought into requisition, and that my trial was to be more elaborate 
than any that had preceded it. I asked for half an hour to prepare for my 
defence, which was granted. Meanwhile, seats were arranged to accommodate 
the court and spectators, and extra settees were placed for the ladies on the 
upper deck, where they could look down, see and hear all that transpired. 
Curiosity was on tip-toe, for it was evident that this was to be a long, exciting 
and laughable trial. At the end of half an horn* the judge was on the bench, the 
jury had taken their places; the witnesses were ready; the counsel for the prose- 
cution, four in number, with pens, ink, and paper in profusion, were seated, and 
everything seemed ready. I was brought in by a special constable, the indict- 
ment read, and I was asked to plead guilty, or not guilty. I rose, and in a most 
solenm manner, stated that I could not conscientiously plead guilty or not guilty; 
that I had, in fact, committed many of the acts charged in the indictment, but 
these acts, I was ready to show, were not criminal, but on the contrary, worthy 
of praise. My plea was received and the first witness called. 

He testified to having visited the prisoner's Museum, and of being humbugged 
by the Feejee Mermaid; the nurse of Washington; and by other curiosities 
natural and unnatural. The questions and answers having been all arranged in 
advance, everything worked smoothly. Acting as my own counsel, I cross-ex- 
amined the witness by simply asking whether he saw anything else in the Museum 
besides what he had mentioned. 

"Oh! yes, C saw thousands of other things." 

" Were they curious? " 

" Certainly; many of them very astonishing." 

" Did you witness a dramatic representation in the Museum? " 

" Yes, sir, a veiy good one." 

"What did you pay for all this? " 

" Twenty-five cents." 

" That will do, sir; you can step down." 

A second, third and fourth witness were called, and the examination was 
similar to the foregoing. Another witness then appeared to testify in regard to 
another count in the indictment. He stated that for several weeks he was the 
guest of the prisoner, at his country residence, Iranistan, and he gave a most 
amusing description of the various schemes and contrivances which were there 
originated, for the purpose of being carried out at some future day in the Museum. 

"How did you live there? " asked one of the counsel for the prosecution. 

"Very well, indeed, in the daytime," was the reply; "plenty of the best to eat 
and drink, except liquors. In bed, however, it was impossible to sleep. I rose 
the first night, struck a fight, and on examination found myself covered with 
myriads of little bugs, so small as to be almost imperceptible. By using my 
microscope I discovered them to be infantile bedbugs. After the first night 1 was 
obliged to sleep hi the coach-house in order to escape this annoyance." 


Of ixrnrse this elicited much mirth. The first question put on the cross-exami- 
nation was this: 

"Are you a naturalist, sir?" 

The witness hesitated. In all the drilling that had taken place before the trial, 
neither the counsel nor witnesses had thought of what questions might come up 
in the cross-examination, and now, not seeing the drift of the question, the wit- 
ness seemed a little bewildered, and the counsel for the prosecution looked 

The question was repeated with some emphasis. 

"No, sir! " replied the witness, hesitatingly, "I am not a naturalist. " 

"Then, sir, not being a naturalist, dare you affirm that those microscopic 
insects were not humbugs instead of bedbugs " — (here the prisoner was interrupted 
by a universal shout of laughter, in which the solemn judge himself joined) — 
" and if they were humbugs, I suppose that even the learned counsel opposed to 
me, will not claim that they were out of place? " 

" They may have been humbugs," replied the witness. 

" That will do, sir; you may go," said I; and at the same time, turning to the 
array of counsel, I remarked, with a smile, " You had better have a naturalist 
for your next witness, gentlemen." 

"Don't be alarmed, sir, we have got one, and we will now introduce him," 
replied the counsel. 

The next witness testified that he was a planter from Georgia, that some years 
since the prisoner visited his plantation with a show, and that while there he dis- 
covered an old worthless donkey belonging to the planter, and bought him for five 
dollars. The next year the witness visited Iranistan, the country seat of the pris- 
oner, and, while walking about the grounds, his old donkey, recognizing his former 
master, brayed; " whereupon," continued the witness, " I walked up to the animal 
and found that two men were engaged in sticking wool upon him, and this animal 
was afterwards exhibited by the prisoner as the woolly horse." 

The whole court — spectators, and even the "prisoner" himself, were convulsed 
with laughter at the gravity with which the planter gave his very ludicrous 

" What evidence have you," I inquired, "that this was the same donkey which 
you sold to me?" 

"The fact that the animal recognized me, as was evident from his braying as 
ooon as he saw me." 

"Are you a naturalist, sir?" 

"Yes, I anV replied the planter, with firm emphasis, as much as to say, you 
can't catch me as you did the other witness. 

"Oh! you are a naturalist, are you? Then, sir, I ask you, as a naturalist, do 
you not know it to be a fact in natural history, that one jackass always brays as 
soon as he sees another? 

This question was received with shouts of laughter, in the midst of which the 
nonplussed witness backed out of court, and all the efforts of special constables, 
and even the high sheriff himself, were unavailing in getting him again on the 
witness stand. 

This trial lasted two days, to the great delight of all on board. After my suc- 
cess with the " naturalist," not one half of the witnesses would appear against me. 
In my final argument I sifted the testimony, analyzed its bearings, ruffled the 
learned counsel, disconcerted the witnesses, flattered the judge and jury, and when 
the judge had delivered his charge, the jury acquitted me without leaving their 


The judge received the verdict, and then announced that he should fine 
the naturalist for the mistake he made, as to the cause of the donkey's braying, 
and he should also fine the several witnesses, who, through fear of the cross-fire, 
had refused to testify. 

The trial afforded a pleasant topic of conversation for the rest of the voyage; 
and the morning before arriving in port, a vote of thanks was passed to me, in 
consideration of the amusement I had intentionally and unintentionally furnished 
to the passengers during the voyage. 

After my arrival in New York, oftentimes, in passing up and down Broadway, 
Isaw old and prosperous friends coming, but before I came anywhere near them, 
if they espied me, they would dodge into a store, or across the street, or oppor- 
tunely meet some one with whom they had pressing business, or they would be 
very much interested in something that was going on over the way, or on top of 
the City HalL I was delighted at this, for it gave me at once a new sensation 
and anew experience. "Ah, ha!" I said to myself; "my butterfly friends, I 
know you now; and, what is more to the point, if ever I get out of this bewilder- 
ment of broken clock- wheels, I shall not forget you;" and I heartily thanked the 
old clock concern for giving me the opportunity to learn this sad but most needful 
lesson. I had a very few of the same sort of experiences in Bridgeport, and they 
proved valuable to me. 

Mr. James D. Johnson, of Bridgeport, one of my assignees, who had written to 
me that my personal presence might f acilitate a settlement of my affairs, told me, 
soon after my arrival, that there was no probability of disposing of Irani stan at 
present, and that I might as well move my family into the housa I had arrived 
in August, and my family followed me from London in September, and October 
20, 1857, my second daughter, Helen, was married in the house of her elder sister, 
Mrs. D. W. Thompson, in Bridgeport, to Mr. Samuel H. Hurd. 

Meanwile, Iranistan, which had been closed and unoccupied for more than two 
years, was once more opened to the carpenters and painters whom Mr. Johnson 
sent there to put the house in order. He agreed with me that it was best to keep 
the property as long as possible, and in the interval, till a purchaser for the estate 
appeared, or till it was forced to auction, to take up the clock notes whenever they 
were offered. The workmen who were employed in the house were specially in- 
structed not to smoke there, but, nevertheless, it was subsequently discovered 
that some of the men were in the habit occasionally of going into the main dome to 
eat their dinners which they brought with them, and that they stayed there 
awhile after dinner to smoke their pipes. In all probability, one of these lighted 
pipes was left on the cushion which covered the circular seat in the dome and 
ignited the tow with which the cushion was stuffed. It may have been days and 
even weeks before this smouldering tow fire burst into flame. 

I was staying, at the Astor House, in New York, when, on the morning of 
December 18, 1857, 1 received a telegram from my brother Philo F. Barnum, dated 
at Bridgeport, and informing me that Iranistan was burned to the ground that 
morning. The alarm was given at eleven o'clock on the night of the 17th, and 
the fire burned till one o'clock on the morning of the 18th. My beautiful Iranis- 
tan was gone! This was not only a serious loss to my estate, for it had probably 
cost at least $150,000, but it was generally regarded as a public calamity. It was 
the only building in its peculiar style of architecture of any pretension in America, 
and many persons visited Bridgeport every year expressly to see Iranistan. The 
insurance on the mansion had usually been about $62,000, but I had let some of the 
policies expire without renewing them, so that at the time of the fire there was only 

IN EOLLAKD. 1,; ' 

$28,000 insurance on the property. Most of the furniture and pictures were saved, 
generally in a damaged state. 

Subsequently, my asignees sold the grounds and outhouses of Iramstan to the 
late Elias Howe, Jr., the celebrated inventor of the needle for sewing-machines. 
The property brought $50,000, which, with the $28,000 insurance, went Into my 
assets to^tisfy clock creditors. It was Mr. Howe's intention to erect a splendid 
mansion on the estate, but his untimely and lamented death prevented the fulfill- 
mev.t of the plan- 



Seeing the necessity of making more money to assist in extricating me froii. 
my financial difficulties, and leaving my affairs in the hands of Mr. James D. 
Johnson — my wife and youngest daughter, Pauline, boarding with my eldest 
daughter, Mrs. Thompson, in Bridgeport — early in 1858, I went back to England, 
and took Tom Thumb to all the principal places in Scotland and Wales, giving 
many exhibitions and making much money which was remitted, as heretofore, to 
my agents and assignees hi America. 

Finding, after a while, that my personal attention was not needed in the Tom 
Thumb exhibitions and confiding him almost wholly to agents who continued the 
tour through Great Britain, under my general advice and instruction, I turned 
my individual attention to a new field. At the suggestion of several American 
gentlemen, resident in London, I prepared a lecture on "The Art of Money- 
Getting." I told my friends that, considering my clock complications, I thought 
I was more competent to speak on " The Art of Money Losing; " but they encour- 
aged me by reminding me that I could not have lost money, if I had not previ- 
ously possessed the faculty of making it. They further assured me that my 
name having been intimately associated with the Jenny Lind concerts and other 
great money-making enterprises, the lecture would be sure to prove attractive 
and profitable. 

The old clocks ticked in my ear the reminder that I should improve every 
opportunity to " turn an honest penny," and my lecture was duly announced for 
delivery in the great St. James' Hall, Regent street, Piccadilly. It was thoroughly 
advertised— a feature I never neglected— and, at the appointed time, the hall, 
which would hold three thousand people, was completely filled, at prices of three 
and two shillings (seventy-five and fifty cents), per seat, according to location. It 
was the evening of December 29, 1858. I could see in my audience all my Ameri- 
can friends who had suggested this effort; all my theatrical and literary friends; 
and as I saw several gentlemen whom I knew to be connected with the leading 
London papers, I felt sure that my success or failure would be duly chronicled 
next mo rnin g. There was, moreover, a general audience that seemed eager to 
seethe "showman" of whom they had heard so much, and to catch from his 
lips the "art" which, in times past, had contributed so largely to his success in 
fife. Stimulated by these things, I tried to do my best, and I think I did it. The 
following is the lecture substantially as it was delivered, though it was inter- 
spersed with many anecdotes and illustrations which are necessarily omitted ; and 1 
should add, that the subjoined copy being adapted to the meridian in which ii 
has been repeatedly delivered, contains numerous local allusions to men ana 
matters in the United States, which, of course, did not appear in the original 
draft prepared for my English audiences: 


in the United States, where we have more land than people, it is not at all diffi- 
cult for persons in good health to make money. In this comparatively new field 



there are so many avenues of success open, so many vocations which are not 
crowded, that any person of either sex who is willing, at least for the time 
being, to engage in any respectable occupation that offers, may find lucrative 

Those who really desire to attain an independence, have only to set their minds 
upon it, and adopt the proper means, as they do in regard to any other object 
which they wish to accomplish, and the thing is easily done. But however easy 
it may be found to make money, I have no doubt many of my hearers will agree 
it is the most difficult thing in the world to keep it. The road to wealth is, as 
Dr. Franklin truly says, "as plain as the road to milL" It consists simply in 
expending less than we earn; that seems to be a very simple problem. Mr. 
Micawber, one of those happy creations of the genial Dickens, puts the case in a 
strong fight when he says that to have an income of twenty pounds, per annum, 
and spend twenty pounds and sixpence, is to be the most miserable of men; 
whereas, to have an income of only twenty pounds, and spend but nineteen 
pounds and sixpence, is to be the happiest of mortals. M any of my hearers may 
sav, "we understand this; this is economy, and we know economy is wealth; we 
know we can't eat our cake and keep it also." Yet I beg to say that perhaps 
more cases of failure arise from mistakes on this point than almost any other. 
The fact is, many people think they understand economy when they really do 

True economy is misapprehended, and people go through life without properly 
comprehending what that principle is. One bays, " I have an income of so 
much, and here is my neighbor who has the same; yet every year he gets some- 
thing ahead and I fall short; why is it? I know all about economy." He thinks 
he does, but he does not. There are many who think that economy consists in 
saving cheese-parings and candle-ends, in cutting off two pence from the 
laundress' bill and doing all sorts of little, mean, dirty things. Economy is not 
meanness. The misfortune is, also, that this class of persons let their economy 
apply in only one direction. They fancy they are so wonderfully economical in 
saving a half -penny where they ought to spend two pence, that they think they 
can afford to squander in other directions. A few years ago, before kerosene oil 
was discovered or thought of, one might stop over night at almost any farmer's 
house in the agricultural districts and get a very good supper, but after supper he 
might attempt to read in the sitting-room, and would find it impossible with the 
inefficient light of one candle. The hostess, seeing his dilemma, would say: 
" It is rather difficult to read here evenings; the proverb says ' you must have a 
ship at sea in order to be able to burn two candles at once;' we never have an 
extra candle except on extra occasions." These extra occasions occur, perhaps, 
twice a year. In this way the good woman saves five, six, or ten dollars in that 
time; but the information which might be derived from having the extra light 
would, of course, far outweigh a ton of candles. 

But the trouble does not end here. Feeling that she is so economical in tallow 
candles, she thinks she can afford to go frequently to the village and spend twenty 
or thirty dollars for ribbons and furbelows, many of which are not necessary. 
This false economy may frequently be seen in men of business, and in those 
instances it often runs to writing-paper. You find good business men who save 
all the old envelopes, and scraps, and would not tear a new sheet of paper, if they 
could avoid it, for the world. This is all very well; they may in this way save 
five or ten dollars a year, but being so economical (only in note paper), they think 
they can afford to waste th 'e: to have expensive parties, and to drive their car- 



riages. This is an illustration of Dr. Franklin's " saving at the spigot and wasting 
at the bung-hole;" "penny wise and pound foolish." Punch in speaking of this 
"one idea" class of people says "they are like the man who bought a penny 
herring for his family's dinner and then hired a coach and four to take it home.'' 
I never knew a man to succeed by practising this kind of economy. 

True economy consists in always making the income exceed the out-go. Wear 
the old clothes a little longer if necessary; dispense with the new pair of gloves; 
mend the old dress; live on plainer food if need be; so that, under all circum- 
stances, unless some unforeseen accident occui-s, there will be a margin in favor of 
the income. A penny here, and a dollar there, placed at interest, goes on accu- 
mulating, and in this way the desired result is attained. It requires some training, 
perhaps, to accomplish this economy, but when once used to it, you will find there 
is more satisfaction in rational saving, than in irrational spending. Here is a 
recipe which I recommend; I have found it to work an excellent cure for extrava- 
gance, and especially for mistaken economy: When you find that you have no 
surplus at the end of the year, and yet have a good income, I advise you to take 
a few sheets of paper and form them into a book and mark down every item of 
expenditure. Post it every day or week in two columns, one headed ' ' necessaries " 
or even "comforts," and the other headed "luxuries," and you will find that the 
latter column will be double, treble, and frequently ten times greater than the 
former. The real comforts of life cost but a small portion of what most of us 
can earn. Dr. Franklin says " it is the eyes of others and not our own eyes which 
ruin us. If all the world were blind except myself I should not care for fine 
clothes or furniture." It is the fear of what Mrs. Grundy may say that keeps the 
noses of many worthy families to the grindstone. In America many persons 
like to repeat "we are all free and equal" but it is a great mistake in more 
senses than one. 

That we are born " free and equal" is a glorious truth in one sense, yet we are 
not all bora equally rich, and we never shall be. One may say, "there is a man 
who has an income of fifty thousand dollars per annum, while I have but one 
thousand dollars; I knew that fellow when he was poor like myself, now he is 
rich and thinks he is better than I am ; I will show him that I am as good as he is; 
I will go and buy a horse and buggy; no, I cannot do that, but I will go and hire 
one and ride this afternoon on the same road that he does, and thus prove to him 
that I am as good as he is." 

My friend, you need not take that trouble ; you can easily prove that you are 
"as good as he is;" you have only to behave as well as he does; but you cannot 
make anybody believe that you are rich as he is. Besides, if you put on these 
"airs," and waste your time and spend your money, your poor wife will be 
obliged to scrub her fingers off at home, and buy her tea two ounces at a time, 
and everything else in proportion, in order that you may keep up " appearances," 
and, after all, deceive nobody. On the other hand, Mi's. Smith may say that her 
next-door neighbor married Johnson for his money, and "everybody says so." 
She has a nice one-thousand dollar camel's hair shawl, and she will make Smith 
get her an imitation one, and she will sit in a pew right next to her neighbor in 
church, in order to prove that she is her equal. 

My good woman, you will not get ahead in the world, if your vanity and envy 
thus take the lead. In this country, where we believe the majority ought to 
rule, we ignore that principle in regard to fashion, and let a handful of people, 
railing themselves the aristocracy, run up a false standard of perfection, and in 
endeavoring to rise to that standard, we constantly keep ourselves poor: all the 


time digging away for the sake of outside appearances. How much wiser to be 
a "law unto ourselves" and say, "we will regulate our out-go by our income, 
and lay up something for a rainy day." People ought to be as sensible on the 
subject of money-getting as on any other subject Like causes produces like 
effects. You cannot accumulate a fortune by Liking the road that leads to 
poverty. It needs no prophet to tell us that those who live fully up to their 
means, without any thought of a reverse in this life, can never attain a pecuniary 

Men and women accustomed to gratify every whim and caprice, will find it 
hcird, at first, to cut down their various unnecessai-y expenses, and will feel it a 
great self-denial to live in a smaller house than they have been accustomed to, 
with less expensive furniture, less company, less costly clothing, fewer servants, 
a less number of balls, parties, theater-goings, cari-iage-ridings, pleasure excur- 
sions, cigar-smokings, liquor-dri nki ngs, and other extravagances; but, after all, 
if they will try the plan of laying by a "nest-egg," or, in other words, a small 
sum of money, at interest or judiciously invested in land, they will be surprised 
at the pleasure to be derived from constantly adding to their little "pile," as well 
as from all the economical habits which are engendered by this course. 

The old suit of clothes, and the old bonnet and dress, will answer for another 
season; the Croton or spring water will taste better than champagne; a cold bath 
and a brisk walk will prove more exhilarating than a ride in the finest coach; a 
social chat, an evening's reading in the family circle, or an hour's play of "hunt 
the slipper" and " blind man's buff," will be far more pleasant than a fifty or five 
hundred dollar party, when the reflection on the difference in cost is indulged in 
by those who begin to know the pleasures of saving. Thousands of men are kept 
poor, and tens of thousands are made so after they have acquired quite sufficient 
to support them well through life, in consequence of laying their plans of living 
on too broad a platform. Some families expend twenty thousand dollars per 
annum, and some much more, and would scarcely know how to five on less, while 
others secure more solid enjoyment frequently on a twentieth part of that amount. 
Prosperity is a more severe ordeal than adversity, especially sudden prosperity. 
"Easy come, easy go," is an old and true proverb. A spirit of pride and vanity, 
when permitted to have full sway, is the undying canker-worm which gnaws the 
very vitals of a man's worldy possessions, let them be small or great, hundreds 
or millions. Many persons, as they begin to prosper, immediately expand their 
ideas and commence expending for luxuries, until in a short time their expenses 
swallow up their income, and they become ruined in their ridiculous attempts to 
keep up appearances, and make a " sensation." 

I know a gentleman of fortune who says, that when he first began to prosper, 
his wife would have a new and elegant sofa. "That sofa," he says, "cost me 
thirty thousand dollars ! " When the sofa reached the house, it was found neces- 
sary to get chairs to match; then side-boards, carpets and tables " to correspond " 
with them, and so on through the entire stock of furniture ; when at last it was f ound 
that the house itself was quite too small and old-fashioned for the furniture, and 
a new one was built to correspond with the new purchases; " thus," added my 
friend, " summing up an outlay of thirty thousand dollars, caused by that single 
sofa, and saddling on me, in the shape of servants, equipage, and the necessary 
expenses attendant upon keeping up a fine 'establishment,' a yearly outlay of 
eleven thousand dollars, and a tight pinch at that ; whereas, ten years ago, we 
lived with much more real comfort, because with much less care, on as many 
hundreds. The truth is," he continued, "that sofa would have brought me to 


inevitable bankruptcy, had not a most unexampled tide of prosperity kept me 
above it, and had I not checked the natural desire to * cut a dash.' " 

The foundation of success in life is good health; that is the substratum of for- 
tune; it is also the basis of happiness. A person cannot accumulate a fortune 
very well when he is sick. He has no ambition; no incentive; no force. Of 
course, there are those who have bad health and cannot help it; you cannot 
expect that such persons can accumulate wealth; but there are a great many in 
poor health who need not be so. 

If, then, sound health is the foundation of success and happiness in life, how 
important it is that we should study the laws of health, which is but another 
expression for the laws of nature! The closer we keep to the laws of nature, the 
nearer we are to good health, and yet how many persons there are who pay no 
attention to natural laws, but absolutely transgress them, even against their own 
natural inclination. We ought to know that the ' ' sin of ignorance " is never 
winked at in regard to the violation of nature's laws: their infraction always 
brings the penalty. A child may thrust its finger into the flames without know- 
ing it will burn, and so suffers, repentance, even, will not stop the smart. Many 
of our ancestors knew very little about the principle of ventilation. They did 
not know much about oxygen, whatever other "gin" they might have been 
acquainted with; and consequently, they built their houses with little seven-by- 
nine feet bedrooms, and these good old pious Puritans would lock themselves up 
in one of these cells, say their prayers and go to bed. In the morning they 
would devoutly return thanks for the "preservation of their fives," during the 
night, and nobody had better reason to be thankful Probably some big crack in 
the window, or in the door, let in a little fresh air, and thus saved them. 

Many persons knowingly violate the laws of nature against their better im- 
pulses, for the sake of fashion. For instance, there is one thing that nothing 
living except a vile worm ever naturally loved, and that is tobacco; yet how 
many persons there are who deliberately train an unnatural appetite, and over- 
come this implanted aversion for tobacco, to such a degree that they get to love 
it. They have got hold of a poisonous, filthy weed, or rather that takes a firm 
hold of them. Here are married men who run about spitting tobacco juice on 
the carpet and floors, and sometimes even upon their wives besides. They do 
not kick their wives out of doors like drunken men, but their wives, I have no 
doubt, often wish they were outside of the house. Another perilous feature is 
that this artificial appetite, like jealousy, " grows by what it feeds on; " when you 
love that which is unnatural, a stronger appetite is created for the hurtful thing 
than the natural desire for what is harmless. There is an old proverb which 
says that "habit is second nature," but an artificial habit is stronger than nature. 
Take for instance, an old tobacco-chewer; his love for the "quid' is stronger 
than his love for any particular kind of food. He can give up roast beef easier 
than give up the weed. 

Young lads regret that they are not men; they would like to go to bed boys 
and wake up men; and to accomplish this they copy the bad habits of their sen- 
iors. Little Tommy and Johnny see their fathers or uncles smoke a pipe, and 
they say, " If I could only do that, I would be a man too; uncle John has gone 
out" and left his pipe of tobacco, let us try it." They take a match and fight it, 
and then puff away. " We will learn to smoke ; do you like it Johnny? " That 
lad dolefully replies: "Not very much; it tastes bitter;" by and by he grows 
pale, but he persists and he soon offers up a sacrifice on the altar of fashion; but 


the boys stick to it and persevere until at last they conquer their natural appetites 
and become the victims of acquired tastes. 

I speak " by the book," for I have noticed its effects on myself, having gone so 
far as to smoke ten or fifteen cigars a day, although I have not used the 
during the last fourteen years, and never shall again. The more a man smokes, 
the more he craves smoking; the last cigar smoked simply excites the desire for 
another, and so on incessantly. 

Take the tobacco-chewer. In the morning, when he gets up, he puts a quid in 
bis mouth and keeps it there all day, never taking it out except to exchange it 
for a fresh one, or when he is going to eat; oh! yes, at intervals during the day 
and evening, many a chewer takes out the quid and holds it in his hand long 
enough to take a drink, and then pop it goes back again. This simply proves that 
the appetite for rum is even stronger than that for tobacco. When the tobacco- 
chewer goes to your country seat and you show him your grapery and fruit 
house, and the beauties of your garden, when you offer him some fresh, ripe 
fruit, and say, " My friend, I have got here the most delicious apples, and pears, 
and peaches, and apricots ; I have imported them from Spain, France and Italy 
— just see those luscious grapes; there is nothing more delicious nor more healthy 
than ripe fruit, so help yourself; I want to see you delight yourself with these 
things;" he will roll the dear quid under his tongue and answer, "No, I thank 
you, I have got tobacco in my mouth." His palate has become narcotized by the 
noxious weed, and he has lost, in a great measure, the delicate and enviable 
taste for fruits. This shows what expensive, useless and injurious habits men will 
get into. I speak from experience. I have smoked until I trembled like an aspen 
leaf, the blood rushed to my head, and I had a palpitation of the heart which I 
thought was heart disease, till I was almost killed with fright. "When I consulted 
my physician, he said "break off tobacco using." I was not only injuring my 
health and spending a great deal of money, but I was setting a bad example. I 
obeyed his counseL No young man in the world ever looked so beautiful, as he 
thought he did, behind a fifteen cent cigar or a meerschaum ! 

These remarks apply with tenfold force to the use of intoxicating drinks. To 
make money, requires a clear brain. A man has got to see that two and two 
make four; he must lay all his plans with reflection and forethought, and closely 
examine all the details and the ins and outs of business. As no man can succeed 
in business unless he has a brain to enable him to lay his plans, and reason to 
guide him in their execution, so, no matter how bountifully a man may be blessed 
with intelligence, if the brain is muddled, and his judgment warped by intoxi- 
cating drinks, it is impossible for him to carry on business successfully. How 
many good opportunities have passed, never to return, while a man was sipping 
a "social glass," with his friend 1 How many foolish bargains have been made 
under the influence of the "nervine," which temporarily makes its victim think 
he is rich. How many important chances have been put off until to-morrow, 
and then forever, because the wine cup has thrown the system into a state of 
lassitude, neutralizing the energies so essential to success in business. Verily, 
"wine is a mocker." The use of intoxicating drinks as a beverage, is as much 
an infatuation, as is the smoking of opium by the Chinese, and the former Ls 
quite as destructive to the success of the business man as the latter. It is an 
unmitigated evil, utterly indefensible in the light of philosophy, religion or good 
sense. It is the parent of nearly every other evil in our country. 

Don't Mistake your Vocation.— The safest plan, and the one most sure of 
success for the young man starting in life, is to select the vocation which is most 


congenial to his tastes. Parents and guardians are often quite too npgligent in 
regard to this. It is very common for a father to say, for example: " I have 
five boys. I will make Billy a clergyman; John a lawyer; Tom a doctor, and 
Dick a farmer." He then goes into town and looks about to see what he will do 
with Sammy. He returns home and says " Sammy, I see watch- making is a 
nice, genteel business; I think I will make you a goldsmith." He does this, 
regardless of Sam's natural inclinations, or genius. 

We are all, no doubt, born for a wise purpose. There is as much diversity in 
our brains as in our countenances. Some are born natural mechanics, while some 
have great aversion to machinery. Let a dozen boys of ten years get together, 
and you will soon observe two or three are " whittling " out some ingenious 
device ; working with locks or complicated machinery. When they were but five 
years old, their father could find no toy to please them like a puzzle. They are 
natural mechanics; but the other eight or nine boys have different aptitudes. 1 
belong to the latter class; I never had the slightest love for mechanism; on the 
contrary, I have a sort of abhorrence for complicated machinery. I never had 
ingenuity enough to whittle a cider tap so it would not leak. I never could make 
a pen that I could write with, or understand the principle of a steam engine. If 
a man was to take such a boy as I was, and attempt to make a watchmaker of 
him, the boy might, after an apprenticeship of five or seven years, be able to take 
apart and put together a watch; but all through life he would be working up hill 
and seizing every excuse for leaving his work and idling away his time. Watch- 
making is repulsive to him. 

Unless a man enters upon the vocation intended for him by nature, and best 
suited to his peculiar genius, he cannot succeed. I am glad to believe that the 
majority of persons do find their right vocation. Yet we see many who have 
mistaken their calling, from the blacksmith up (or down) to the clergyman. 
You will see, for instance, that extraordinary linguist the "learned blacksmith," 
who ought to have been a teacher of languages; and you may have seen lawyers, 
doctors and clergymen who were better fitted by nature for the anvil or the 

Select the Right Location.— After securing the right vocation, you must 
be careful to select the proper location. You may have been cut out for a hotel 
keeper, and they say it requires a genius to "know how to keep a hotel." You 
might conduct a hotel like clock-work, and provide satisfactorily for five hundred 
guests every day; yet, if you should locate your house in a small village where 
there is no railroad communication or public travel, the location would be your 
ruin. It is equally important that you do not commence business where there are 
already enough to meet all demands in the same occupation. I remember a case 
vvhich illustrates this subject. When I was in London in 1858, I was passing 
down Holborn with an English friend and came to the "penny shows." They 
had immense cartoons outside, portraying the wonderful curiosities to be seen " all 
for a penny. " Being a little in the ' ' show line " myself, I said " let us go in here. ' ' 
We soon found ourselves in the presence of the illustrious showman, and he proved 
to be the sharpest man in that line I had ever met. He told us some extraordinary 
stories in reference to his bearded ladies, his Albinos, and his Armadillos, which 
we could hardly believe, but thought it " better to believe it than look after the 
proof." He finally begged to call our attention to some wax statuary, and showed 
us a lot of the dirtiest and filthiest wax figures imaginable. They looked as if 
they had not seen water since the Deluge. 


" What is there so wonderful about your statuary?" I asked. 

"I beg you not to speak so satirically ied, " Sir, these are not Madam 

Tussaud's wax figures, all covered with gilt and tinsel and imitation diamonds, 
And copied from engravings and photographs. Mine, sir, were taken from life. 
"Whenever you look upon one of those figures, you may consider that you are 
looking upon the living individual." 

Glancing casually at them, I saw one labelled " Henry VIII.,"' and feeling a little 
curious upon seeing that it looked like Calvin Edson, the living skeleton, I said: 

" Do you call that ■ Henry the Eighth?"' 

He replied, " Certainly, sir; it was taken from life at Hampton Court, by special 
order of his majesty, on such a day." 

He would have given the hour of the day if I had insisted; I said, " Everybody 
knows that ' Henry VIII.' was a great stout old king, and that figure is lean and 
lank; what do you say to that?" 

" Why," he replied, "you would be lean and lank yourself, if you sat there as 
long as he has." 

There was no resisting sucn arguments. I said to my English friend, " Let us 
go out; do not tell him who I am; I show the white feather; he beats me." 

He followed us to the door, and seeing the rabble in the street, he called out, 
"ladies and gentlemen, I beg to draw your attention to the respectable character 
of my visitors," pointing to us as we walked away. I called upon him a couple 
of days afterwards; told him who I was, and said: 

"My friend, you are an excellent showman, but you have selected a bad 

He replied, " This is true, sir; I feel that all my talents are thrown away; but 
what can I do? " 

" You can go to America," I replied. " You can give full play to your faculties 
over there; you will find plenty of elbow-room in America; I will engage you 
for two years; after that you will be able to go on your own account." 

He accepted my offer and remained two years in my New York Museum. He 
then went to New Orleans and carried on a traveling show business during the 
summer. To-day he is worth sixty thousaud dollars, simply because he selected 
the right vocation and also secured the proper location. The old proverb says, 
" Three removes are as bad as a fire," but when a man is in the fire, it matters but 
little how soon or how often he removes. 

Avoid Debt. — Young men starting in life should avoid running into debt. 
There is scarcely anything that drags a person down Like debt. It is a slavish 
position to get in, yet we find many a young man, hardly out of his " teens," run- 
ning in debt. He meets a chum and says, " Look at this: I have got trusted for a 
new suit of clothes." He seems to look upon the clothes as so much given to him ; 
well, it frequently is so, but, if he succeeds in paying and then gets trusted again. 
he is adopting a habit which will keep him in poverty through Life. Debt robs a 
man of his self-respect, and makes him almost despise himseLf. Granting and 
groaning and working for what he has eaten up or worn out, and now when he is 
called upon to pay up, he has nothing to show for his money; this is properly 
termed "working for a dead horse." I do not speak of merchants buying and 
selling on credit, or of those who buy on credit in order to turn the purchase to a 
profit. The old Quaker said to his farmer son, " John, never get trusted; but if 
thee gets trusted for anything, let it be for 'manure,' because that will help thee 
pay it back again," 


Mr. Beecher advised young men to get in debt if they could to a small amount 
in the purchase of land, in the country districts. "If a young man," he says, 
" will only get in debt for some land and then get married, these two things will 
keep him straight, or nothing will." This maybe safe to a limited extent, but 
getting in debt for what you eat and drink and wear is to be avoided. Some 
families have a foolish habit of getting credit at " the stores," and thus frequently 
purchase many things which might have been dispensed with. 

It is all very well to say, " I have got trusted for sixty days, and if I don't have 
the money the creditor will think nothing about it." There is no class of people 
in the world, who have such good memories as creditors. When the sixty days 
run out, you will have to pay. If you do not pay, you will break your promise, 
and probably resort to a falsehood. You may make some excuse or get in debt 
elsewhere to pay it, but that only involves you the deeper. 

A good-looking, lazy young fellow, was the apprentice boy, Horatio. His 
employer said, "Horatio, did you ever see a snail?" "I — think — I — have," he 
drawled out. " You must have met him then, for I am sure you never overtook 
one," said the "boss." Your creditor will meet you or overtake you and say, 
" Now, my young friend, you agreed to pay me; you have not done it, you must 
give me your note." You give the note on interest and it commences working 
against you; "it is a dead horse." The creditor goes to bed at night and wakes 
up in the morning better off than when he retired to bed, because his interest has 
increased during the night, but you grow poorer while you are sleeping, for the 
interest is accumulating against you. 

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible 
master. When you have it mastering you; when interest is constantly piling up 
against you, it will keep you down in the worst kind of slavery. But let money 
work for you, and you have the most devoted servant in the world. It is no " eye- 
servant." There is nothing animate or inanimate that will work so faithfully as 
money when placed at interest, well secured. It works night and day, and in wet 
or dry weather. 

I was born in the blue-law State of Connecticut, where the old Puritans had 
laws so rigid that it was said, " they fined a man for kissing his wife on Sunday." 
Yet these rich old Puritans would have thousands of dollars at interest, and on 
Saturday night would be worth a certain amount; on Sunday they would go to 
church and perform all the duties of a Christian. On waking up on Monday 
morning, they would find themselves considerably richer than the Saturday night 
previous, simply because their money placed at interest had worked faithfully for 
them all day Sunday, according to law! 

Do not let it work against you; if you do there is no chance for success in life 
so far as money is concerned. John Randolph, the eccentric Virginian, once 
exclaimed in Congress, "Mr. Speaker, I have discovered the philosopher's stone: 
pay as you go." This is, indeed, nearer to the philosopher's stone than any 
alchemist has ever yet arrived. 

Persevere. — When a man is in the right path, he must persevere. I speak of 
this because there are some persons who are "born tired; " naturally lazy and 
possessing no self-reliance and no perseverance. But they can cultivate these 
qualities, as Davy Crockett said: 

"This thing remember, when I am dead, 
Be sure you are right, then go ahead." 


It is this go-aheaditiveness, this determination not to let the "horrors" or the 
"blues" take possession of you, so as to make you relax your energies in the 
struggle for independence, which you must cultivate. 

How many have almost reached the goal of their ambition, but, losing faith in 
themselves, have relaxed their energies, and the golden prize has been lost forever. 

It is, no doubt, often true, as Shakespeare says: 

"There is a tide in the affairs of men, 
Which, taken at the flood, leada on to fortune." 

If you hesitate, some bolder hand will stretch out before you and get the prize. 
Remember the proverb of Solomon: "He becometh poor that dealeth with a 
slack hand; but the hand of the diligent maketh rich." 

Perseverance is sometimes but another word for self-reliance. Many persons 
naturally look on the dark side of life, and borrow trouble. They are born so. 
Then they ask for advice, and they will be governed by one wind and blown by 
another, and cannot rely upon themselves. Until you can get so that you can rely 
upon yourself, you need not expect to succeed I have known men, personally, 
who have met with pecuniary reverses, and absolutely committed suicide, because 
they thought they could never overcome their misfortune. But I have known 
others who have met more serious financial difficulties, and have bridged them 
over by simple perseverance, aided by a firm belief that they were doing justly, 
and that Providence would "overcome evil with good." You will see this 
illustrated in any sphere of lif e. 

Take two generals; both understand military tactics, both educated at West 
Point, if you please, both equally gifted; yet one, having this principle of perse- 
verance, and the other lacking it, the former will succeed in his profession, while 
the latter will fail One may hear the cry, "the enemy are coming, and they 
have got cannon." 

" Got cannon? " says the hesitating general. 

" Yes." 

"Then halt every man." 

He wants time to reflect ; his hesitation is his ruin ; the enemy passes unmolested, 
or overwhelms him; while on the other hand, the general of pluck, perseverance 
and self-reliance, goes into battle with a will, and, amid the clash of arms, the 
booming of cannon, the shrieks of the wounded, and the moans of the dying, you 
will see tms man persevering, going on, cutting and slashing his way through 
with unwavering determination, inspiring his soldiers to deeds of fortitude, valor 
and triumph. 

"Whatever you do, do it with all your might.— Work at it, if necessary, 
early and late, in season and out of season, not leaving a stone unturned, and never 
deferring for a single hour that which can be done just as well now. The old 
proverb is full of truth and meaning, "Whatever is worth doing at all, is worth 
doing well." Many a man acquires a fortune by doing his business thoroughly, 
while his neighbor remains poor for life, because he only half does it. ArJSbition, 
energy, industry, perseverance, are indispensable requisites for success in business. 

Fortune always favors the brave, and never helps a man who does not help 
himself. It won't do to spend your time like Mr. Micawber, in waiting for some- 
thing to "turn up." To such men one of two things usually "turns up:" the 
poor-house or the jail; for idleness breeds bad habits, and clothes a man in rags. 
The poor spendthrift vagabond said to a rich man: 

" I have discovered there is money enough in the world for all of us, if it was 
equally divided; this must be done, and we shall all be happy % together." 


" But." was the response, " if everybody was like you, it would be spent in two 
months, and what would you do then? " 

"Oh! divide again; keep dividing, of course!" 

I was recently reading in a London paper an account of a like philosophic 
pauper who was kicked out of a cheap boarding-house because he could not pay 
his bill, but he had a roll of papers sticking out of his coat pocket, which, upon 
examination, proved to be his plan for paying off the national debt of England 
without the aid of a penny. People have got to do as Cromwell said: " not only 
trust in Providence, but keep the powder dry." Do your part of the work, or 
you cannot succeed. Mahomet, one night, while encamping in the desert, over- 
heard one of his fatigued followers remark: "I will loose my camel, and trust it 
to God." "No, no, not so," said the prophet, "tie thy camel, and trust it to 
G-od!" Do all you can for yourselves, and then trust to Providence, or luck, or 
whatever you please to call it, for the rest. 

Depend upon your own personal exertions. — The eye of the employer 
is often worth more than the hands of a dozen employees. In the nature of things, 
an agent cannot be so faithful to his employer as to himself. Many who are em- 
ployers will call to mind instances where the best employees have overlooked 
important points which could not have escaped their own observation as a pro- 
prietor. No man has a right to expect to succeed in life unless he understands 
his business, and nobody can understand bis business thoroughly unless he learns 
it by personal application and experience. A man may be a manufacturer; he 
has got to learn the many details of his business personally; he will learn some- 
thing every day, and he will find he will make mistakes nearly every day. And 
these very mistakes are helps to him in the way of experiences if he but heeds 
them. He will be like the Yankee tin-peddler, who, having been cheated as to 
quality in the purchase of his merchandise, said: " All right, there's a little infor- 
mation to be gained every day; I will never be cheated in that way again." Thus 
a man buys his experience, and it is the best kind if not purchased at too dear a 

I hold that every man should, like Cuvier, the French naturalist, thoroughly 
know his business. So proficient was he in the study of natural history, that 
you might bring to him the bone, or even a section of a bone of an animal which 
he had never seen described, and, reasoning from analogy, he would be abl6 to 
draw a picture of the object from which the bone had been taken. On one 
occasion his students attempted to deceive him. They rolled one of their number 
in a cow skin and put him under the professor's table as a new specimen. When 
the philosopher came into the room, some of the students asked him what animal 
it was. Suddenly the animal said " I am the devil and I am going to eat you.'» 
It was but natural that Cuvier should desire to classify this creature, and, exam 
ining it intently, he said: 

"Divided hoof; graminivorous! it cannot be done. " 

He knew that an animal with a split hoof must live upon grass and grain, or 
other kind of vegetation, and would not be inclined to eat flesh, dead or alive, so 
he considered himself perfectly safe. The possession of a perfect knowledge of 
your business is an absolute necessity in order to insure success. 

Among the maxims of the elder Rothschild was one, an apparent paradox: " Be 
cautious and bold." This seems to be a contradiction in terms, but it is not, and 
there is great wisdom in the maxim. It is, in fact, a condensed statement of 
what I have already said. It is to say, " you must exercise your caution in laying 
vour plans, but be bold in carrying them out." A man who is all caution, will 


never dare to take hold and be successful, and a man who is all boldness, is 
merely reckless, and must eventually fail. A man may go on "'change "and 
make fifty or one hundred thousand dollars in speculating in stocks, at a single 
operation. But if he has simple boldness without caution, it is mere chance, and 
what he gains to-day he will lose to-morrow. You must have both the caution 
and the boldness, to insure success. 

The Rothschilds have another maxim : "Never have anything to do with an 
unlucky man or place." That is to say, never have anything to do with a man 
or place which never succeeds, because, although a man may appear to be honed; 
and intelligent, yet if he tries this or that thing and always fails, it is on account 
of some fault or infirmity that you may not be able to discover, but nevertheless 
which must exist. 

There is no such thing in the world as luck. There never was a man who could 
go out in the morning and find a purse full of gold in the street to-day, and 
another to-moiTow, and so on, day after day. He may do so once in his life; 
but so far as mere luck is concerned, he is as liable to lose it as to find it. " Like 
causes produce like effects. " If a man adopts the proper methods to be successful, 
"luck" will not prevent him. If he does not succeed, there are reasons for it, 
although, perhaps, he may not be able to see them. 

Use the best tools. — Men in engaging employees should be careful to get 
the best. Understand, you cannot have too good tools to work with, and there 
is no tool you should be so particular about as living tools. If you get a good 
one, it is better to keep him, than keep changing. He learns something t 
day, and you are benefited by the experience he acquires. He is worth more to 
you this year than last, and he is the last man to part with, provided his habits 
are good, and he continues faithful. If, as he gets more valuable, he demands 
an exorbitant increase of salary, on the supposition that you can't do without him, 
let him go. Whenever I have such an employee, I always discharge him ; first, to 
convince him that his place may be supplied, and second, because he is good for 
nothing if he thinks he is invaluable and cannot be spared. 

But I would keep him, if possible, in order to profit from the result of his 
experience. An important element in an employee is the brain. You can see 
bills up, " Hands Wanted," but "hands" are not worth a great deal without 
"heads." Mr. Beecher illustrates this, in this wise: 

An employee offers his services by saying, "I have a pair of hands and one 
of my fingers thinks." "That is very good," says the employer. Another man 
comes along, and says "he has two fingers that think." "Ah! that is better." 
But a third calls in and says that "all his fingers and thumbs think." That is 
better stilL Finally another steps in, and says, "I have a brain that thii 
think all over; I am a thinking as well as a working man!" "You are the man 
I want," says the delighted employer. 

Those men who have brains and experience are therefore the most Tamable 
and not to be readily parted with; it is better for them, as well as yourself, to 
keep them, at reasonable advances in their salaries from time to time. 

Don't get above your business. — Young men after they get through their 
business training, or apprenticeship, instead of pursuing their □ anil 

rising in their business, will often he about doing nothing. They say, "I hav.- 
learned my business, but I am not going to be a hireling; what is the object of 
learning my trade or profession, unless I establish myself I" 

" Have you capital to start with?" 

" No, but I am going to have it." 


"How are you going to get it?" 

"I will tell you confidentially; I have a wealthy old aunt, and she will die 
pretty soon; but if she does not, I expect to find some rich old man who will lend 
me a few thousands to give me a start. If I only get the money to start with I 
will do well." 

There is no greater mistake than when a young man believes he will succeed 
with borrowed money. Why? Because every man's experience coincides with 
that of Mr. Astor, who said, "it was more difficult for him to accumulate his first 
thousand dollars, than all the succeeding millions that made up his colossal for- 
tune." Money is good for nothing unless you know the value of it by experience. 
Give a boy twenty thousand dollars and put him in business, and the chances are 
that he will lose every dollar of it before he is a year older. Like buying a ticket 
in the lottery, and drawing a prize, it is "easy come, easy go." He does not 
know the value of it; nothing is worth anything, unless it costs effort Without 
self-denial and economy, patience and perseverance, and commencing with capital 
which you have not earned, you are not sure to succeed in accumulating. Young 
men, instead of " waiting for dead men's shoes," should be up and doing, for there 
is no class of 'persons who are so unaccommodating in regard to dying as these 
rich old pCople, and it is fortunate for the expectant heirs that it is so. Nine out 
of ten of the rich men of our country to-day, started out in life as poor boys, 
with determined wills, industry, perseverance, economy and good habits. They 
went on gradually, made their own money and saved it; and this is the best way 
to acquire a fortune. Stephen Girard started life as a poor cabin boy, and died 
worth nine million dollars, A. T. Stewart was a poor Irish boy; now he pays 
taxes on a million and a half dollars of income, per year. John Jacob Astor was 
a poor farmer boy, and died worth twenty millions. Cornelius Vanderbilt began 
life rowing a boat from Staten Island to New York; now he presents our govern- 
ment with a steamship worth a mil Hon of dollars, and he is worth fifty millions. 
" There is no royal road to learning,'' says the proverb, and I may say it is 
equally time, "there is no royal road to wealth." But I think there is a royal 
road to both. The road to learning is a royal one; the road that enables the 
student to expand his intellect and add every day to his stock of knowledge, 
until in the pleasant process of intellectual growth, he is able to solve the most 
profound problems, to count the stars, to analyze every atom of the globe, and to 
measure the firmament — this is a regal highway, and it is the only road worth 

So in regard to wealth. Go on in confidence, study the rules, and above all 
things, study human nature; for "the proper study of mankind is man," and 
you will find that while expanding the intellect and the muscles, your enlarged 
experience will enable you every day to accumulate more and more principal, 
which will increase itself by interest and otherwise, until you arrive at a state of 
independence. You will find, as a general thing, that the poor boys get rich and 
the rich boys get poor. For instance, a rich man at his decease, leaves a large 
estate to his family. His eldest sons, who have helped him earn his fortune, know 
by experience the value of money, and they take their inheritance and add to it. 
The separate portions of the young children are placed at interest, and the little 
fellows are patted on the head, and told a dozen times a day, " you are rich; you 
will never have to work, you can always have whatever you wish, for you were 
born with a golden spoon in your mouth." The young heir soon finds out what 
that means; he has the finest dresses and playthings; he is crammed with sugar 
candies and almost " killed with kindness," and he passes from school to school, 


petted and flattered. He becomes arrogant and self -conceited, abuses his teachers, 
and carries everything with a high hand. He knows nothing of the real value of 
money, having never earned any; but he knows all about the " golden spoon w 
business. At college, he invites his poor fellow-students to his room, where he 
" wines and dines " them. He is cajoled and caressed, and called a glorious good 
fellow, because he is so lavish of his money. He gives his game suppers, drives his 
fast horses, invites his chums to fetes and parties, determined to have lots of 
"good times." He spends the m'ght in frolics and debauchery, and leads off his 
companions with the familiar song, " we won't go home till morning." He gets 
them to join him in pulling down signs, taking gates from their hinges and throw- 
ing them into back yards and horse-ponds. If the police arrest them, he knocks 
them down, is taken to the lock-up, and joyfully foots the bills. 

"Ah! my boys," he cries, "what is the use of being rich, if you can't enjoy 

He might more truly say, "if you can't make a fool of yourself;" but he is 
"fast," hates slow things, and don't "see it." Young men loaded down with 
other people's money are almost sure to lose all they inherit, and they acquire all 
sorts of bad habits which, in the majority of cases, ruin them in health, purse 
and character. In this country, one generation follows another, and the poor of 
to-day are rich in the next generation, or the third. Their experience leads them 
on, and they become rich, and they leave vast riches to their young children. 
These children, having been reared in luxury, are inexperienced and get poor; 
and after long experience another generation comes on and gathers up riches 
again in turn. And thus "history repeats itself," and happy is he who by listen- 
ing to the experience of others avoids the rocks and shoals on which so many 
have been wrecked. 

"In England, the business makes the man." If a man in that country is a 
mechanic or working-man, he is not recognized as a gentleman. On the occasion 
of my first appearance before Queen Victoria, the Duke of Wellington asked me 
what sphere in life General Tom Thumb's parents were in. 

" His father is a carpenter," I replied. 

"Oh! I had heard he was a gentleman," was the response of His Grace. 

In this Republican country, the man makes the business. No matter whether 
he is a blacksmith, a shoemaker, a farmer, banker or lawyer, so long as his busi- 
ness is legitimate, he may be a gentleman. So any " legitimate " business is a 
double blessing — it helps the man engaged in it, and also helps others. The 
farmer supports his own family, but he also benefits the merchant or mechanic 
who needs the products of his farm. The tailor not only makes a living by his 
trade, but he also benefits the farmer, the clergyman and others who cannot 
make their own clothing. But all these classes of men may be gentlemen. 

The great ambition should be to excel all others engaged in the same occupation. 

The college-student who was about graduating, said to an old lawyer: 

"I have not yet decided which prof ession I will follow. Is your profession 

"The basement is much crowded, but there is plenty of room upstairs," was 
the witty and truthful reply. 

No profession, trade, or calling, is overcrowded in the upper story. Wherever 
you find the most honest and intelligent merchant or banker, or the best lawyer, 
the best doctor, the best clergyman, the best shoemaker, carpenter, or anything 
else, that man is most sought for, and has always enough to do. As a nation, 
Americans are too superficial — they are striving to get rich quickly, and do not 


generally do their business as substantially and thoroughly as they should, but 
whoever excels all others in his own line, if his habits are good and his integrity 
undoubted, cannot fail to secure abundant patronage, and the wealth that natu- 
rally follows. Let your motto then always be " Excelsior," for by living up to it 
there is no such word as fail. 

Learn something useful. — Every man should make his son or daughter 
learn some trade or profession, so that in these days of changing fortunes — of 
being rich to-day and poor to-morrow — they may have something tangible to fall 
back upon. This provision might save many persons from misery, who by some 
unexpected turn of fortune have lost all their means. 

Let hope predominate, but be not too visionary.— Many persons are 
always kept poor, because they are too visionary. Every project looks to them 
like certain success, and therefore they keep changing from one business to 
another, always in hot water, always "under the harrow." The plan of "count- 
ing the chickens before they are hatched" is an error of ancient date, but it does 
not seem to improve by age. 

Do not scatter your powers. — Engage in one kind of business only, and 
stick to it faithfully until you succeed, or until your experience shows that you 
should abandon it. A constant hammering on one nail will generally drive it 
home at last, so that it can be clinched. When a man's undivided attention is 
centered on one object, his mind will constantly be suggesting improvements of 
value, which would escape him if his brain was occupied by a dozen different 
subjects at once. Many a fortune has slipped through a man's fingers because he 
was engaged in too many occupations at a time. There is good sense in the old 
caution against having too many irons in the fire at once. 

Be systematic. — Men should be systematic in their business. A person who 
does business by rule, having a time and place for everything, doing his work 
promptly, will accomplish twice as much and with half the trouble of him who 
does it carelessly and slipshod. By introducing system into all your transac- 
tions, doing one thing at a time, always meeting appointments with punctuality, 
you find leisure for pastime and recreation; whereas the man who only half does 
one thing, and then turns to something else, and half does that, will have his 
business at loose ends, and will never know when his day's work is done, for it 
never will be done. Of course, there is a limit to all these rules. "We must try 
to preserve the happy medium, for there is such a thing as being too systematic. 
There are men and women, for instance, who put away things so carefully that 
they can never find them again. It is too much like the " red tape" formality 
at Washington, and Mr. Dickens' "Circumlocution Office," — all theory and no 

When the " Astor House " was first started in New York city, it was undoubt- 
edly the best hotel in the country. The proprietors had learned a good deal in 
Europe regarding hotels, and the landlords were proud of the rigid system which 
pervaded every department of their great establishment. When twelve o'clock 
at night had arrived, and there were a number of guests around, one of the 
proprietors would say, "Touch that bell, John;" and in two minutes sixty ser- 
vants, with a water-bucket in each hand, would present themselves in the hall. 
"This," said the landlord, addressing his guests, "is our fire-bell; it will show 
you we are quite safe here; we do everything systematically." This was before 
the Croton water was introduced into the city. But they sometimes carried their 
system too far. On one occasion, when the hotel was thronged with guests, one 
of the waiters was suddenly indisposed, and although there were fifty waiters in 


the hotel, the landlord thought he must have his full complement, or bis "sys- 
tem" would be interfered with. Just before dinner-time, he rushed down stairs 
and said. " There must be another waiter, I am one waiter abort; what can I do?" 
He happened to see "Boots," the Irishman. "Pat," said he, " wash your hand* 
and face: take that white apron and come into the dining-room in five minutes." 
Presently Pat appeared as required, and the proprietor said: "Now Pat, you 
must stand behind these two chairs, and wait on the gentlemen who will occupy 
them; did you ever act as a waiter? ■ 

" I know all about it, sure, but I never did it." 

Like the Irish pilot, on one occasion when the captain, thinking he was consid- 
erably out of his course, asked, " Are you certain you understand what you are 
Pat replied, " Sure and I knows every rock in the channel." 
That moment, " bang " thumped the vessel against a rock. 
"Ah I be jabers, and that is one of 'em," continued the pilot. But to return 
to the dining-room. "Pat," said the landlord, "'here we do everything syste- 
matically. You must first give the gentlemen each a plate of soup, and when 
they finish that, ask them what they will have next." 
Pat replied, "Ah! an' I understand parfectly the vartues of shystem." 
Very soon in came the guests. The plates of soup were placed before them. 
One of Pat's two gentlemen ate his soup; the other did not care for it. He said: 
"Waiter, take this plate away and bring me some fish." Pat looked at the 
untasted plate of soup, and remembering the injunctions of the landlord in 
regard to "system," replied: 
" Not till ye have ate yer supe ! " 

Of course that was carrying " system " entirely too far. 

PtEAD the newspapers. — Always take a trustworthy newspaper, and thus 
keep thoroughly posted in regard to the transactions of the world. He who is 
without a newspaper is cut off from his species. In these days of telegraphs and 
steam, many important inventions and improvements in every branch of trade, 
are being made, and he who don't consult the newspapers will soon find himself 
and his business left out in the cold. 

Beware of "outside operations." — We sometimes see men who have 
obtained fortunes, suddenly become poor. In many cases, this arises from intem- 
perance, and often from gaming, and other bad habits. Frequently it occurs 
because a man has been engaged in "outside operations," of some sort. When 
he gets rich in his legitimate business, he is told of a grand speculation where he 
can make a score of thousands. He is constantly ftattered by his friends, who 
tell him that he is born lucky, that everything he touches turns into gold Now 
if he forgets that his economical habits, his rectitude of conduct and a personal 
attention to a business which he understood, caused his success in life, he will 
listen to the siren voices. He says : 

" I will put in twenty thousand dollars. I have been lucky, and my good luck 
will soon bring me back sixty thousand dolla: 

A few days elapse and it is discovered he must put in ten thousand dollars 
more; soon after he is told "it is all right," but certain matters not foreseen, 
require an advance of twenty thousand dollars more, which will bring him a 
rich harvest; but before the time comes around to realize, the bubble bursts, he 
loses all he is possessed of, and then he learns what he ought to have known at 
the first, that however successful a man may l>e in his own business, if he turns 
from that and engages in a business which he don't understand, he is lik»> Sam- 


son when shorn of his locks— his strength has departed, and he becomes like 
other men. 

If a man has plenty of money, he ought to invest something in everything that 
appears to promise success, and that will probably benefit mankind; but let the 
sums thus invested be moderate in amount, and never let a man foolishly jeop- 
ardize a fortune that he has earned in a legitimate way, by investing it in things 
in which he has had no experience. 

Don't indorse without security.— I hold that no man ought ever to indorse 
a note or become security for any man, be it his father or brother, to a greater 
extent than he can afford to lose and care nothing about, without taking good 
security. Here is a man that is worth twenty thousand dollars; he is doing 
a thriving manufacturing or mercantile trade; you are retired and living on 
your money; he comes to you and says: 

" You are aware that I am worth twenty thousand dollars, and don't owe a 
dollar; if I had five thousand dollars in cash, I could purcnase a particular lot of 
goods and double my money in a couple of months; will you indorse my note for 
that amount?" 

You reflect that he is worth twenty thousand dollars, and you incur no risk by 
indorsing his note; you like to accommodate him, and you lend your name with- 
out taking the precaution of getting security. Shortly after, he shows you the 
note with your indorsement canceled, and tells you, probably truly, "that he 
made the profit that he expected by the operation," you reflect that you have 
done a good action, and the thought makes you feel happy. By and by, the same 
thing occurs again and you do it again; you have already fixed the impression 
in your mind that it is perfectly safe to indorse his notes without security. 

But the trouble is, this man is getting money too easily. He has only to take 
your note to the bank, get it discounted and take the cash. He gets money for 
the time being without effort; without inconvenience to himself. Now mark the 
result. He sees a chance for speculation outside of his business. A temporary 
investment of only $10,000 is required. It is sure to come back before a note at 
the bank would be due. He places a note for that amount before you. You sign 
it almost mechanically. Being firmly convinced that your friend is responsible 
and trustworthy, you indorse his notes as a "matter of course." 

Unfortunately the speculation does not come to a head quite so soon as was 
expected, and another $10,000 note must be discounted to take up the last one 
when due. Before this note matures the speculation has proved an utter failure 
and all the money is lost. Does the loser tell his friend, the indorser, that he- has 
lost half of his fortune? Not at all. He don't even mention that he has specu- 
lated at all. But he has got excited; the spirit of speculation has seized him; he 
sees others making large sums in this way (we seldom hear of the losers), and, like 
other speculators, he "looks for his money where he loses it." He tries again. 
Indorsing notes has become chronic with you, and at every loss he gets your 
signature for whatever amount he wants. Finally you discover your friend has 
lost all of his property and all of yours. You are overwhelmed with astonish- 
ment and grief, and you say " it is a hard thing; my friend here has ruined me," 
but, you should add, " I have also ruined him." If you had said in the first place, 
"I will accommodate you, but I never indorse without taking ample security," 
he could not have gone beyond the length of his tether, and he would never have 
been tempted away from his legitimate business. It is a very dangerous thing, 
therefore, at any time, to let people get possession of money too easily; it tempts 
them to hazardous speculations, if nothing more. Solomon truly said "he that 
hateth suretiship is sure." 


So with the young man starting in business; let him understand the value u£ 
money by earning it. When he does understand its value, then grease the wheels 
a little in helping him to start business, but remember, men who get money with 
too great facility, cannot usually succeed. You must get the first dollars by bar. 1 
knocks, and at some sacrifice, in order to appreciate the value of those dollars. 

Advertise your BUSINESS. — We all depend, more or less, upon the public for 
our support. We all trade with the public — lawyers, doctors, shoemakers, artists, 
blacksmiths, showmen, opera singers, railroad presidents, and college professors. 
Those who deal with the public must be careful that their goods are valuable ; 
that they are genuine, and will give satisfaction. When you get an article which 
you know is going to please your customers, and that when they have tried it, 
they will feel they have got their money's worth, then let the fact be known that 
you have got it. Be careful to advertise it in some shape or other, because it is 
evident that if a man has ever so good an article for sale, and nobody knows it, 
it will bring him no return. In a country like this, where nearly everybody 
reads, and where newspapers are issued and circulated in editions of five thousand 
to two hundred thousand, it would be very unwise if this channel was not taken 
advantage of to reach the public in advertising. A newspaper goes into the 
family, and is read by wife and children, as well as the head of the house; hence 
hundreds and thousands of people may read your advertisement, while you are 
attending to your routine business. Many, perhaps, read it while you are asleep. 
The whole philosophy of life is, first "sow," then " reap." That is the way the 
farmer does; he plants his potatoes and corn, and sows his grain, and then goes 
about something else, and the time comes when he reaps. But he never reaps 
first and sows afterwards. This principle applies to all kinds of business, and to 
nothing more eminently than to advertising. If a man has a genuine article, 
there is no way in which he can reap more advantageously than by " sowing " to 
the public in this way. He must, of course, have a really good article, and one 
which will please his customers; anything spurious will not succeed permanently, 
because the public is wiser than many imagine. Men and women are selfish, and 
we all prefer purchasing where we can get the most for our money; and we try 
to find out where we can most surely do so. 

You may advertise a spurious article, and induce many people to call and buy 
it once, but they will denounce you as an imposter and swindler, and your 
business will gradually die out and leave you poor. This is right. Few people 
can safely depend upon chance custom. You all need to have your customers 
return and purchase again. A man said to me, "I have tried advertising and 
did not succeed; yet I have a good article." 

I replied, " My friend, there may be exceptions to a general rule. But how do 
you advertise?" 

" I put it in a weekly newspaper tnree times, and paid a dollar and a half for it." 

I replied: " Sir, advertising is like learning — ' a little is a dangerous thing!' " 

A French writer says that " The reader of a newspaper does not see the first 
insertion of an ordinary advertisement ; the second insertion he sees, but does not 
read; the third insertion he reads; the fourth insertion, he looks at the price; the 
fifth insertion, he speaks of it to his wife; the sixth insertion, he is ready to pur- 
chase, and the seventh insertion, he purchases." Your object in advertising is to 
make the public understand what you have got to sell, and if you have not the 
pluck to keep advertising, until you have imparted that information, all the 
money you have spent is lost. You are like the fellow who told the gentleman if 
he would give him ten cents it would save him a dollar. " How can I help you 


90 much with so small a sum?" asked the gentleman in surprise. " I started out 
this morning (hiccupped the fellow) with the full determination to get drunk, and 
I hare spent my only dollar to accomplish the object, and it has not quite done 
it. Ten cents worth more of whisky would just do it, and in this manner I should 
save the dollar already expended." 

So a man who advertises at all must keep it up until the public know who and 
<vhat he is, and what his business is, or else the money invested in advertising is 

Some men have a peculiar genius for writing a striking advertisement, one that 
will arrest the attention of the reader at first sight. This tact, of course, gives 
the advertiser a great advantage. Sometimes a man makes himself popular by 
an unique sign or a curious display in his window. Recently I observed a swing 
sign extending over the sidewalk in front of a store, on which was the inscription 
in plain letters, 

"don't read the other side." 

Of course I did, and so did everybody else, and I learned that the man had 
made an independence by first attracting the public to his business in that way 
and then using his customers well afterwards. 

Genin, the hatter, bought the first Jenny Lind ticket at auction for two hundred 
and twenty-five dollars, because he knew it would be a good advertisement for 
him "Who is the bidder?" said the auctioneer, as he knocked down that ticket 
at Castle Garden. " G-enin, the hatter," was the response. Here were thousands 
of people from the Fifth avenue, and from distant cities in the highest stations 
in life. " Who is ' Genin,' the hatter* " they exclaimed. They had never heard 
of him before. The next morning the newspapers and telegraph had circulated 
the facts from Maine to Texas, and from five to ten millions of people had read that 
the tickets sold at auction for Jenny Lind's first concert amounted to about twenty 
thousand dollars, and that a single ticket was sold at two hundred and twenty-five 
dollars, to "Genin, the hatter." Men throughout the country involuntarily took 
off their hats to see if they had a "Genin" hat on their heads. At a town in 
Iowa it was found that in the crowd around the post-office, there was one man 
who had a "Genin " hat, and he showed it in triumph, although it was worn out 
and not worth two cents. "Why." one man exclaimed, "you have a real 
'Genin' hat; what a lucky fellow you are." Another man said, "Hang on to 
that hat, it will be a valuable heir-loom in your family." Still another man in 
the crowd, who seemed to envy the possessor of this good fortune, said, " Come, 
give us all a chance ; put it up at auction ! " He did so, and it was sold as a keep- 
sake for nine dollars and fifty cents? What was the consequence to Mr. Genin* 
He sold ten thousand extra hats per annum, the first six years. Nine-tenths of 
the purchasers bought of him, probably, out of curiosity, and many of them, 
finding that he gave them an equivalent for their money, became his regular 
customers. This novel advertisement first struck their attention, and then, as he 
made a good article, they came again. 

Now, I don't say that everbody should advertise as Mr. Genin did. But I say 
if a man has got goods for sale, and he don't advertise them in some way, the 
chances are that some day the sheriff will do it for him. Nor do I say that 
everybody must advertise in a newspaper, or indeed use "printers' ink" at alL 
On the contrary, although that article is indispensable in the majority of cases, 
yet doctors and clergymen, and sometimes lawyers and some others, can more 
effectually reach the public in some other manner. But it is obvious, they must 
be known in some way, else how could they be supported? 


Be polite and kind to your customers.— Politeness and civility are the 
best capital ever invested in business. Large stores, gilt signs, flaming adver- 
tisements, "will all prove unav ailin g if you or your employees treat your patrons 
abruptly. The truth is, the more kind and liberal a man is, the more generous 
will be the patronage bestowed upon him. " Like begets like." The man who 
gives the greatest amount of goods of a corresponding quality for the least sum 
(still reserving to himself a profit) will generally succeed best in the long run. 
This brings us to the golden rule, " As ye would that men should do to you, do 
ye also to them," and they will do better by you than if you always treated tb-iu 
as if you wanted to get the most you could out of them for the least return. 
Men who drive sharp bargains with their customers, acting as if they never 
expected to see them again, will not be mistaken. They never will see them again 
as customers. People don't like to pay and get kicked also. 

One of the ushers in my Museum once told me he intended to whip a man who 
was in the lecture-room as soon as he came out. 
"What for?" I inquired. 

" Because he said I was no gentleman," replied the usher. 

" Never mind," I replied, "he pays for that, and you will not convince him you 
are a gentleman by whipping him. I cannot afford to lose a customer. If you 
whip him, he will never visit the Museum again, and he will induce friends to go 
with him to other places of amusement instead of this, and thus, you see, I should 
be a serious loser." 

" But he insulted me," muttered the usher. 

"Exactly," I replied, "and if he owned the Museum, and you had paid him 
for the privilege of visiting it, and he had then insulted you, there might be some 
reason in your resenting it. but in this instance he is the man who pays, while we 
receive, and you must, therefore, put up with his bad manners. " 

My usher laughingly remarked, that this was undoubtedly the true policy, but 
he added that he should not object to an increase of salary if he was expected to 
be abused in order to promote my interests. 

Be charitable. — Of course men should be charitable, because it is a duty and 
a pleasure. But even as a matter of policy, if you possess no higher incentive, 
you will find that the liberal man will command patronage, while the sordid, 
uncharitable miser will be avoided. 

Solomon says: "There is that scattereth and yet increaseth; and there is that 
withholdeth more than meet, but it tendeth to poverty." Of course the only 
true charity is that which is from the heart. 

The best kind of charity is to help those who are willing to help themselves. 
Promiscuous almsgiving, without inquiring into the worthiness of the applicant, 
is bad in every sense. But to search out and quietly assist those who are strug- 
gling for themselves, is the kind that " scattereth and yet increaseth." But don't 
fall into the idea that some persons practice, of giving a prayer instead of a 
potato, and a benediction instead of bread, to the hungry. It is easier to make 
Christians with full stomachs than empty. 

Don't blab. — Some men have a foolish habit of telling their business secrets. 
If they make money they like to tell their neighbors how it was done. Nothing 
is gained by this, and ofttimes much is lost. Say nothing about your profits, 
your hopes, your expectations, your intentions. And this should apply to letters as 
well as to conversation. Goethe makes Mephistophiles say : " never write a letter 
nor destroy one." Business men must write letters, but they should be careful 


what they put in them. If you are losing money, be specially cautious and not 
tell of it, or you will lose your reputation. 

Preserve your integrity. — It is more precious than diamonds or rubies. 
The old miser said to his sons: " Get money; get it honestly, if you can, but get 
money." This advice was not only atrociously wicked, but it was the very 
essence of stupidity. It was as much as to say, " if you find it difficult to obtain 
money honestly, you can easily get it dishonestly. Get it in that way. " Poor fool ! 
Not to know that the most difficult thing in life is to make money dishonestly! 
not to know that our prisons are full of men who attempted to follow this advice; 
not to understand that no man can be dishonest, without soon being found out, 
and that when his lack of principle is discovered, nearly every avenue to success 
is closed against him forever. The public very properly shun all whose integrity 
is doubted. No matter how polite and pleasant and accommodating a man may 
be, none of us dare to deal with him if we suspect ''false weights and measures. " 
Strict honesty, not only lies at the foundation of all success in life (financially), 
but in every other respect. Uncompromising integrity of character in invalua- 
ble. It secures to its possessor a peace and joy which cannot be attained without 
it — which no amount of money, or houses and lands can purchase. A man who is 
known to be strictly honest, may be ever so poor, but he has the purses of all the 
community at his disposal — for all know that if he promises to return what he 
borrows, he will never disappoint them. As a mere matter of selfishness, there- 
fore, if a man had no . higher motive for being honest, all will find that the 
maxim of Dr. Franklin can never fail to be true, that "honesty is the best 

To get rich, is not always equivalent to being successful. "There are many 
rich poor men," while there are many others, honest and devout men and women, 
who have never possessed so much money as some rich persons squander in a 
week, but who are nevertheless really richer and happier than any man can ever 
be while he is a transgressor of the higher laws of his being. 

The inordinate love of money, no doubt, may be and is "the root of all evil," 
but money itself, when properly used, is not only a " handy thing to have in the 
house," but affords the gratification of blessing our race by enabling its possessor 
to enlarge the scope of human happiness and human influence. The desire for 
wealth is nearly universal, and none can say it is not laudable, provided the pos- 
sessor of it accepts its responsibilities, and uses it as a friend to humanity. 

The history of money-getting, which is commerce, is a history of civilization, 
and wherever trade has flourished most, there, too, have art and science produced 
the noblest fruits. In fact, as a general thing, money-getters are the benefactors 
of our race. To them, in a great measure, are we indebted for our institutions of 
learning and of art, our academies, colleges and churches. It is no argument 
against the desire for, or the possession of, wealth, to say that there are some- 
times misers who hoard money only for the sake of hoarding, and who have no 
higher aspiration than to grasp everything which comes within their reach. As 
we have sometimes hypocrites in religion, and demagogues in politics, so there 
are occasionally misers among money-getters. These, however, are only excep- 
tions to the general rule. But when, in this country, we find such a nuisance 
and stumbling block as a miser, we remember with gratitude that in America 
we have no laws of primogeniture, and that in the due course of nature the time 
will come when the hoarded dust will be scattered for the benefit of mankind. 
To all men and women, therefore, do I conscientiously say, make mcmey honestly, 
and not otherwise, for Shakespeare has truly said, " He that wants money, means 
and content, is without three good friends." 


Nearly every paper in London had something to say about my lecture, and in 
almost every instance the matter and manner of the lecturer were unqualifiedly 
approved. Indeed, the profusion of praise quite overwhelmed me. The London 
Times, December 30, 1858, concluded a half -column criticism with the following 

"We are bound to admit that Mr. Barnnm is one of the most entertaining lecturers 
tuat ever addressed an audience on a theme universally intelligible. The appearance of 
Mr. Barnum, it should be added, has nothing of the ' charlatan ' about it, but is that of the 
thoroughly respectable man of business; and he has at command a fund of dry humor that 
convulses everybody with laughter, while he himself remains perfectly serious. A sonor- 
ous voice and an admirably clear delivery complete his qualifications as a lecturer, in which 
capacity he is no 'humbug,' either in a higher or lower sense of the word." 

The London Morning Post, the Advertiser, the Chronicle, the Telegraph, the 
Herald, the Neivs, the Globe, the Sun, and other lesser journals of the same date, 
all contained lengthy and favorable notices and criticisms of my lecture. My 
own lavish advertisements were as nothing to the notoriety winch the London 
newspapers voluntarily and editorially gave to my new enterprise. The weekly 
and literary papers followed in the train; and even Punch, which had already 
done so much to keep Tom Thumb before the public, gave me a half -page notice, 
with an illustration, and thereafter favored me with frequent paragraphs. The 
city thus prepared the provinces to give me a cordial reception. 

During the year 1S59, I delivered this lecture nearly one hundred times in dif- 
ferent parts of England, returning occasionally to London to repeat it to fresh 
audiences, and always with pecuniary success. Every provincial paper had 
something to say about Barnum and " The Art of Money-Getting," and I was 
never more pleasantly or profusely advertised. The tour, too, made me 
acquainted with many new people and added fresh and fast friends to my 
continually increasing list. My lecturing season is among my most grateful 
memories of England. 

Remembering my experiences, some years before, with General Tom Thumb at 
Oxford and Cambridge, and the fondness of the under-graduates for practical 
joking, I was quite prepared when I made up my mind to visit those two cities, 
to take any quantity of "chaff" and lampooning which the University boys 
might choose to bring. I was sure of a full house in each city, and as I was 
anxious to earn all the money I could, so as to hasten my deliverance from finan- 
cial difficulties, I fully resolved to put up with whatever offered — indeed I rather 
liked the idea of an episode in the steady run of praise which had followed my 
lecture everywhere, and I felt too, in the coming encounter, that I might give 
quite as much as I was compelled to take. 

I commenced at Cambridge, and, as I expected, to an overflowing house, 
largely composed of under-graduates. Soon after I began to speak, one of the 
young men called out: " Where is Joice Heth? " to which I very coolly replied: 

"Young gentleman, please to restrain yourself till the conclusion of the 
lecture, when I shall take great delight in affording you, or any others of her 
posterity, all the information I possess concerning your deceased relative." 

This reply turned the laugh against the youthful and anxious inquirer and had 
the effect of keeping other students quiet for a half hour. Thereafter, questions 
of a similar character were occasionally propounded, but as each inquirer gen- 
erally received a prompt Roland for his Oliver, there was far less interruption 
than I had anticipated. The proceeds of the evening were more than one hun- 
dred pounds sterling, an important addition to my treasury at that time. At the 


close of the lecture, several students invited me to a sumptuous supper where 1 
met, among other under-graduates, a nephew of Lord Macaulay, the historian. 
This young gentleman insisted upon my breakfasting with him at his rooms next 
morning, but as I was anxious to take an early train for London, I only called to 
leave my card, and after his "gyp" had given me a strong cup of coffee, I has- 
tened away, leaving the young Macaulay, whom I did not wish to disturb, fast 
asleep in bed. 

At Oxford the large hall was filled half an hour before the time announced for 
the lecture to begin, and the sale of tickets was stopped. I then stepped upon 
the platform, and said: " Ladies and gentlemen: As every seat is occupied and 
the ticket-office is closed, I propose to proceed with my lecture now, and not keep 
you waiting till the advertised hour." 

"(rood for you, old Barnum," said one; "Time is money," said another; 
"Nothing like economy," came from a third, and other remarks and exclama- 
tions followed, which excited much laughter in the audience. Holding up my 
hand as a signal that I was anxious to say something so soon as silence should be 
restored, I thus addressed my audience: 

" Young gentlemen, I have a word or two to say, in order that we may have a 
thorough understanding between ourselves at the outset. I see symptoms of a 
pretty jolly time here this evening, and you have paid me liberally for the single 
hour of my time which is at your service. I am an old traveler and an old show- 
man, and I like to please my patrons. Now, it is quite immaterial to me ; you may 
furnish the entertainment for the hour, or I will endeavor to do so, or we will 
take portions of the time by turns — you supplying a part of the amusement, and 
I a part — as we say sometimes in America, ' you pays your money, and you takes 
your choice.'" 

My auditors were in the best of humor from the beginning, and my frankness 
pleased them. " Good for you, old Barnum," cried their leader; and I went on 
with my lecture for some fifteen minutes, when a voice called out: 

"Come, old chap! you must be tired by this time; hold up now till we sing 
' Yankee Doodle, ' " whereupon they all joined in that pleasing air with a vigor 
which showed that they had thoroughly prepared themselves for the occasion, 
and meanwhile I took a chair and sat down to show them that I was quite satis- 
fied with their manner of passing the time. When the song was concluded, the 
leader of the party said: " Now, Mr. Barnum, you may go ahead again." 

I looked at my watch and quietly remarked, "Oh! there is time for lots of fun 
yet; we have nearly forty minutes of the hour remaining," and I proceeded with 
my lecture, or rather a lecture, for I began to adapt my remarks to the audience 
and the occasion. At intervals of ten minutes, or so, came interruptions which 
I, as my audience saw, fully enjoyed as much as the house did. When this 
miscellaneous entertainment was concluded, and I stopped short at the end of the 
hour, crowds of the young men pressed forward to shake hands with me, declar- 
ing that they had had a "jolly good time," while the leader said: " Stay with us 
a week, Barnum, and we will dine you, wine you, and give you full houses every 
night." But I was announced to lecture in London the next evening, and I could 
not accept the pressing invitation, though I would gladly have stayed through the 
week. They asked me all sorts of questions about America, the Museum, my 
various shows and successes, and expressed the hope that I would come out of 
my clock troubles all right. 

At least a score of them pressed me to breakfast with them next morning, 
but I declined, till one young gentleman put it on this purely personal ground: 


"My dear sir, you must breakfast with me; I have almost split my throat in 
screaming here to-night, and it is only fair that you should repay me by coming 
to see me in the morning." This appeal was irresistible, and at the appointed 
time I met him and half a dozen of his friends at his table, and we spent a very 
pleasant hoar together. They complimented me on the tact and eqmxniinity I 
had exhibited the previous evening, but I replied: "Oh! I was quite inclined to 
have you enjoy your fun and came fully prepared for it." 

But they liked better, they said, to get the party angry. A fortnight before, 
they told me, my friend Howard Paul had left them in disgust, because they 
insisted upon smoking while his wife was on the stage, adding that the entertain- 
ment was excellent, and that Howard Paul could have made a thousand pounds if 
he had not let his anger drive him away. My new-found friends parted with me 
at the railway station, heartily urging me to come again, and my ticket-seller 
returned £169 as the immediate result of an evening's good-natured fun with the 
Oxford boys. 

After delivering my lecture many times in different places, a prominent pub- 
lishing house in London, offered me £1,200 (§6,000), for the copyright. This offer 
I declined, not that I thought the lecture worth more money, but because I had 
engaged to deliver it in several towns and cities, and I thought the publication 
would be detrimental to the public delivery of my lecture. It was a source c f 
very considerable emolument to me, bringing in much money, which went 
towards the redemption of my pecuniary obligations, so that the lecture itself 
was an admirable illustration of "The Art of Money-Getting." 



While visiting Manchester, in 185S, I was invited by Mr. Peacock, the lessee, 
to deliver a lecture in " Free Trade HalL" I gave a lecture, the title of which I 
now forget; but I well remember it contained numerous personal reminiscences. 
The next day a gentleman named John Fish sent *his card to my room at the 
hotel where I was stopping. I requested the servant to show him up at once, and 
he soon appeared and introduced himself. At first he seemed somewhat embar- 
rassed, but gradually broke the ice by saying he had been pleased in listening to 
my lecture the previous evening, and added that he knew my history pretty well, 
as he had read my autobiography. As his embarrassment at first meeting with 
a stranger wore away, he informed me that he was joint proprietor with another 
gentleman in a "cotton-mill " in Bury, near Manchester, "although," he modestly 
added, "only a few years ago I was working as a journeyman, and probably 
should have been at this tune, had it not been for your book." Observing my 
surprise at this announcement, he continued: 

"The fact is, Mr. Barnum, upon reading your autobiography, I thought I 
perceived you tried to make yourself out something worse than you really were ; 
for I discovered a pleasant spirit and a good heart under the rougher exterior in 
which you chose to present yourself to the public; but," he added, "after reading 
your life I found myself in possession of renewed strength, and awakened ener- 
gies and aspirations, and I said to myself, ' Why can't I go ahead and make money 
as Barnum did? He commenced without money and succeeded; why may not 
I ?' In this train of thought," he continued, " I went to a newspaper office and 
advertised for a partner with money to join me in establishing a cotton-milL I 
had no applications, and, remembering your experiences when you had money 
and wanted a partner, I spent half a crown in a similar experiment. I advertised 
for a partner to join a man who had plenty of capital Then I had lots of appli- 
cants ready to introduce me into all sorts of occupations, from that of a banker 
to that of a horse-jockey or gambler, if I would only furnish the money to start 
with. After a while, I advertised again for a partner, and obtained one with 
money. We have a good mill, I devote myself closely to business, and have 
been very successful I know every line in your book; so, indeed, do several 
members of my family; and I have conducted my business on the principles laid 
down in your published 'Rules for Money-making. ' I find them correct princi- 
ples; and, sir, I have sought this interview in order to thank you for pubhshing 
your autobiography, and to tell you that to that act of yours I attribute my 
present position in life." 

Of course, I was pleased and surprised at this revelation, and, feeling that my 
new friend had somewhat exaggerated the results of my labors as influencing his 
own, I said: 

"Your statement is certainly very flattering, and I am glad if I have been able 
in any manner, through my experiences, to aid you in starting in life; but I pre- 
sume your genius would have found vent in good time if I had never written « 



" No, indeed it would not," he replied, in an earnest tone; " I am sure I should 
have worked as a mill-hand all iny life if it had not been for you. Oh, I have 
made no secret of it," he continued; "the commercial men with whom I deal 
know all about it; indeed, they call me ' Banium ' on 'change here in Manchester." 
On one occasion, when General Tom Thumb exhibited in Bury, Mr. Fish closed 
his mill, and gave each of his employees a ticket to the exhibition; out of respect, 
as he said, to Barnum. On a subsequent occasion, when the little General visited 
England the last time, Mr. Fish invited him, his wife, Commodore Nutt, Minnie 
Warren, and the managers of "the show," to a splendid and sumptuous dinner 
at his house, which the distinguished little party enjoyed exceedingly. 

My friend Fish expressed himself extremely anxious to do any service for me 
which might at any time be in his power. Soon after I arrived in America, I 
read an account of a French giant, then exhibiting in Paris, and said to be over 
eight feet in height. As this was a considerably greater altitude than any speci- 
men of the genus homo within my knowledge had attained, I wrote to my friend 
Fish to take a trip to Paris for me, secure an interview with this modern Anak, 
and by actual measurement obtain for me his exact height. I enclosed an offer 
for this giant's services, arranging the price on a sliding scale, according to what 
his height should actually prove to be — commencing at eight feet, and descending 
to seven feet two inches: and, if he was not taller than the latter figure, I did not 
want him at alL 

Mr. Fish, placing an English two-foot rule in his pocket, started for Paris ; and, 
after much difficulty and several days' delay in trying to speak with the giant, 
who was closely watched by his exhibitor, succeeded in appointing an interview 
at the giant's lodgings. And now came a trouble which required all the patience 
and diplomacy which my agent could command. Mr. Fish, arriving at the place 
of rendezvous, told the giant who he was, and the object of his visit. In fact, he 
showed him my letter, and read the tempting offers which I made for his services, 
provided he measured eight feet, or even came within six inches of that height.* 
"Oh, I measure over eight feet in height," said the giant. "Very likely," 
replied my faithful agent, "but you see my orders are to measure you." "There's 
no need of that, you can see for yourself," stretching himself up a few inches, by 
aid of that peculiar muscular knack which giants and dwarfs exercise when they 
desire to extend or diminish their apparent stature. 

" No doubt you are right," persisted the agent; " but you see that is not accord- 
ing to orders." "Well, stand alongside of me; see, the top of your hat don't 
come to my shoulder," said the giant, as he swung his arm completely over Mr. 
Fish' 8 head, hat and all. 

But my wary agent happened just then to be watching the giant's feet and 
knees, and he thought he saw a movement around the "understandings" that 
materially helped the elevation of the "upperworks," " It is all very well," said 
Mr. Fish; " but I tell you, if I am not permitted to measure your height, I sha ll 
not engage you." My offer had been very- liberal; in fact, provided he was eight 
feet high, it was more than four times the amount the giant was then receiving; 
it was evidently a great temptation to his " highness, " and quite as evidently he 
did not want to be fairly measured. " Well," said the giant, " if you can't take 
my word for it, look at that door; you see my head is more than two feet above 
the top" (giving his neck and every muscle in his body a severe stretch) ; "just 
measure the height of that door." My English friend plainly saw that the ^iant 

* See Illustration, opposite. 



felt that he could not come up to the mark, and he laughed at this last ruse. 
" Oh, I don't want to measure the door; I prefer to measure you," said Mr. Fish, 
coolly. The giant was now desperate, and, stretching himself up to the highest 
point, he exclaimed: " Well, be quick! put your rule down to my feet and meas- 
ure me; no delaj 7 , if you please." 

The giant knew he could not hold himself up many seconds to the few extra 
inches he had imparted to his extended muscles; but his remark had drawn Mr. 
Fish's attention to his feet, and from the feet to the boots, and he began to 
open his eyes. " Look here, Monsieur, " he exclaimed with much earnestness, 
"this sort of thing won't do, you know. I don't understand this contrivance 
around the soles of your boots, but it seems to me you have got a set of springs 
in there which materially aids your altitude a few inches when you desire it. 
Now, I shall stand no more nonsense. If I engage you at all, you must tirst take off 
your boots, and lie flat upon your back in the middle of the floor. The giant 
grumbled and talked about his word being doubted and his honor assailed, but 
Mr. Fish calmly persisted, until at length he slowly took off his coat and gradu- 
ally got down on the floor. Stretched upon his back, he made several vain efforts 
to extend his natural height. Mr. Fish carefully applied his English two-foot 
rule, the result of the measurement causing him much astonishment, and the giant 
more indignation, the giant measuring exactly seven feet one and one-half inches. 
So he was not engaged, and uij agent returned to England and wrote me a most 
amusing letter, giving the particulars of the gigantic interview. 

On the occasion of the erection of a new engine in his mill, Mr. Fish proposed 
naming it after his daughter, but she insisted it should be christened " Barnum," 
and it was so done, with considerable ceremony. Subsequently he introduced a 
second engine into his enlarged mill, and named this, after my wife, " Charity." 

A short time since, I wrote informing him that I desired to give some of the 
foregoing facts in my book, and asked him to give me his consent, and also to 
furnish me some particulars in regard to the engines, and the capacity of his 
mill. He wrote in return a modest letter, which is so characteristic of my whole- 
souled friend that I cannot forbear making the following extracts from it: 

H:id I made a fortune of £100,000 I should have been proud o* a place in your Autobiog- 
raphy ; but as I have only been able to make (here he named a sum which in this country 
would be considered almost a fortune), I feel I should be out of place in your pages; at all 
events, if you mention me at all, draw it mildly, if you please. 

The American war has made sad havoc in our trade, and it is only by close attention to 
business that I have lately been at all successful. I have built a place for one thousand 
looms, and have, as you know, put in a pair of engines, which I have named " Barnum " 
and " Charity." Each engine has its name engraved on two large brass plates at either end 
of the cylinder, which has often caused much mirth when I have explained the circum- 
stances to visitors, i started and christened " Charity" on the fourteenth of January last, 
and she has saved me £12 per month in coals ever since. The steam from the boiler goes 
first to "Charity" (she is high pressure), and " Barnum" only gets the steam after she has 
done with it. tie has to work at low pressure (a condensing engine), and the result is a 
saving. Barnum was extravagant when he took steam direct, but since I fixed Charity 
betwixt him and the boiler,- he can only get what she gives him. This reminds me that you 
state in your " Life ,- you could always make money, but formerly did not save it. Perhaps 
you never took care of it till Charity became Chancellor of Exchequer. When I visited you 
at the Hull Hotel, in Blackburn, you pointed to General Tom Thumb, and said: " That is 
my piece of goods; I have sold it hundreds of thousands of times, and have never yet 
delivered it!" That was ten years ago. in 1858. If I had been doing the same with my 
pieces of calico, I must have been wealthy by this time; but 1 have been hammering at one 
(cotton) nail several months, and. as it did not offer to clinch, I was almost tempted to 
doubt one of your " rules" and thought I would drive at some other nail; but, on reflec- 
tion. I knew I understood cotton better than anything else, and so 1 back up your rule and 
stick to cotton, not doubting it will be all right and successful. 

Mr. Fish was one of the large class of English manufacturers who suffered seri- 
ously from the effects of the rebellion in the United States, As an Englishman 


be could not have a patriot's interest in the progress of that terrible struggle; 
but he made a practical exhibition of sympathy for the suffering soldiers, in a 
pleasant and characteristic manner. 

The great fair of the Sanitary Commission, held in New York during the war, 
affords one of the most interesting chapters in American history. None of those 
who visited the fair will forget, in the multiplicity of offerings to put money 
into the treasury of the commission, two monster cakes, which were as strange 
in shape and ornament as they were mammoth in their proportions. One of 
these great cakes was covered with miniature forts, ships of war, cannon, armies, 
arms of the whole "panoply of war," and it excited the attention of all visitors. 
This strange cake is what is called M Bury, England, where name, cake anc 
custom originated, a "Simnel cake." It was sent to me expressly for this fair, 
by my friend Fish, and, while it was in itself a generous gift, it was doubly so as 
coming from an English manufacturer who had suffered by the war. The second 
great Simnel cake which stood beside it in the fair, was sent to me personally by 
Mr. Fish; but, with his permission, I took much pleasure in contributing it, with 
his own offering, for the benefit of our suffering soldiers. 



In 1859 I returned to the United States. During my last visit abroad I had 
secured many novelties for the Museum, including the Albino Family, which 1 
engaged at Amsterdam, and Thiodon's mechanical theater, which I found at 
Southampton, besides purchasing many curiosities. These things all afforded me 
a liberal commission, and thus, by constant and earnest effort, I made much 
money, besides what I derived from the Tom Thumb exhibitions, my lectures, 
and other enterprises. All of this money, as well as my wife's income, and a 
considerable s um raised by selling a portion of her property, was faithfully 
devoted to the one great object of my life at that period— my extrication from 
those crushing clock debts. I worked and I saved. When my wife and youngest 
daughter were not boarding in Bridgeport, they lived frugally in the suburbs, 
in a small one-story house which was hired at the rate of $150 a year. I had 
now been struggling about four years, with the difficulties of my one great finan- 
cial mistake, and the end still seemed to be far off. I felt that the land, pur- 
chased by my wife in East Bridgeport at the assignees' sale, would, after a while, 
increase rapidly in value; and on the strength of this expectation more money 
was borrowed for the sake of taking up the clock notes, and some of the East 
Bridgeport property was sold in single lots, the proceeds going to the same 

At last, in March, 1860, all the clock indebtedness was satisfactorily extin- 
guished, excepting some $20,000, which I had bound myself to take up within a 
certain number of months, my friend, James D. Johnson, guaranteeing my bond 
to that effect. Mr. Johnson was by far my most effective agent in working 
me through these clock troubles, and in aiding to bring them to a successful 

On the seventeenth day of March, 1860, Messrs. Butler & Greenwood signed an 
agreement to sell and deliver to me on the following Saturday, March 24th, their 
good will and entire interest in the Museum collection. This fact was thoroughly 
circulated, and it was everywhere announced in blazing posters, placards and 
advertisements, which were headed, "Barnum on his feet again." It was fur- 
thermore stated that the Museum would be closed, March 24th, for one week for 
repairs and general renovation, to be re-opened, March 31st, under the manage- 
ment and proprietorship of its original owner. It was also announced that on 
the night of closing, I would address the audience from the stage. 

The American Museum, decorated on that occasion as on hob days, with a 
brilliant display of flags and banners, was filled to its utmost capacity, and I 
experienced profound delight at seeing hundreds of old friends of both sexes in 
the audience.* I lacked but four months of being fifty years of age ; but I felt all 
the vigor and ambition that fired me when I first took possession of the premises 
twenty years before; and I was confident that the various experiences of that 
score of years would be valuable to me in my second effort to secure an 

* See Illustration, page 180. 


eichard's himself again. 197 

At the rising of the curtain, and before the play commenced, I stepped on the 
stage and was received by the large and brilliant audience with an enthusiasm 
far surpassing anything of the kind I had ever experienced or witnessed in a 
public career of a quarter of a century. Indeed, this tremendous demonstration 
nearly broke me down, and my voice faltered and tears came to my eyes as I 
thought of this magnificent conclusion to the trials and struggles of the pa 
years. Recovering myself, however, I bowed my grateful acknowledgments for 
the reception, and addressed the audience as follows: 

11 Ladies and Gentlemen: I should be more or less than human, if I could meet 
this unexpected and overwhelming testimonial at your hands, without the deepest 
emotion- My own personal connection with the Museum is now resumed, and I 
avail myself of the circumstance to say why it is so. Never did I feel stronger 
in my worldly prosperity than in September, 1855. Three months later I was so 
deeply embarrassed that I felt certain of nothing, except the uncertainty of 
everything. A combination of singular efforts and circmnstances tempted me to 
put faith in a certain clock manufacturing company, and I placed my signature 
to papers which ultimately broke me down. After nearly five years of hard 
struggle to keep my head above water, I have touched bottom at last, and here 
to-night, I am happy to announce that I have waded ashore. Every clock debt 
of which I have any knowledge has been provided for. Perhaps, after the 
troubles and turmoils I have experienced, I should feel no desire to re-engage in 
the excitements of business, but a man like myself, less than fifty years of age, 
and enjoying robust health, is scarcely old enough to be embalmed and put in a 
glass case in the Museum as one of its million of curiosities. ' It is better to 
wear out than rust out.' Besides, if a man of active temperament is not busy, 
he is apt to get into mischief. To avoid eviL therefore, and since business activity 
is a necessity of my nature, here I am, once more, in the Museum, and among 
those with whom I have been so long and so pleasantly identified. I am confi- 
dent of a cordial welcome, and hence feel some claim to your indulgence while I 
briefly allude to the means of my present deliverance from utter financial ruin. 
Need I say, in the first place, that I am somewhat indebted to the forbearance of 
generous creditors. In the next place, permit me to speak of sympathizing 
friends, whose volunteered loans and exertions vastly aided my rescue. When 
my day of sorrow came, I first paid or secured every debt I owed of a personal 
nature. This done, I felt bound in honor to give up all of my property that 
remained towards liquidating my "clock debts." I placed it in the hands of 
trustees and receivers for the benefit of all the "clock" creditors. But at the 
forced sale of my Connecticut real estate, there was a purchaser behind the screen, 
of whom the world had little knowledge. In the day of my prosperity* I made 
over to my wif e much valuable property, including the lease of this Museum build- 
ing — a lease then having about twenty-two years to run, and enhanced in value 
to more than double its original worth. I sold the Museum collection to Mum II. 
Greenwood and Butler, subject to my wife's separate interest in the lease, and she 
has received more than eighty thousand dollars over and above the sums paid to 
the owners of the building. Instead of selfisldy applying this amount to private 
purposes, my family lived with a due regard to economy, and the savings (strictly 
belonging to my wife), were devoted to buying in portions of my estate at the 
assignees' sales, and to purchasing ' clock notes ' bearing my indorsements. The 

* I was worth hundreds of thousands of dollars when sa a matter of love I transferred 
a portion to my wife, little dreaming that it would be needed during my lifetime. 

198 Richard's himself again. 

Christian name of my wife is Charity. I may well acknowledge, therefore, that 
lam not only a proper 'subject of charity,' but that 'without Charity, 1 am 

"But, ladies and gentlemen, while Charity thus labored in my behalf, Faith 
and Hope were not idle. I have been anything but indolent during the last four 
years. Driven from pillar to post, and annoyed beyond description by all sorts 
of legal claims and writs, I was perusing protests and summonses by day, and 
dreaming of clocks run down by night. My head was ever whizzing with dislo- 
cated cog-wheels and broken main-springs; my whole mind (and my credit) was 
running upon tick, and everything pressing on me like a dead weight. 

" In this state of affairs I felt that I was of no use on this side of the Atlantic, 
so, giving the pendulum a swing, and seizing time by the forelock, I went to 
Europe. There I furtively pulled the wires of several exhibitions, among which 
that of Tom Thumb may be mentioned for example. I managed a variety of 
musical and commercial speculations in Great Britain, Germany, and Holland. 
These enterprises, together whith the net profits of my public lectures, enabled 
me to remit large sums to confidential agents for the purchase of my obligations. 
In this manner, I quietly extinguished, little by little, every dollar of my clock 
liabilities. I could not have achieved this difficult feat, however, without the 
able assistance of enthusiastic friends — and among the chief of them let me grate- 
fully acknowledge the invaluable services of Mr. James D. Johnson, a gentleman 
of wealth, in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Other gentlemen have been generous 
with me. Some have loaned me large sums without security, and have placed 
me under obligations which must ever command my honest gratitude ; but Mr. 
Johnson has been a 'Mend indeed,' for he has been truly a ' friend in need.' 

"You must not infer, from what I have said, that I have completely recovered 
from the stunning blow to which I was subjected four years ago. I have lost 
more in the way of tens of thousands, yes, hundreds of thousands, than I care to 
remember. A valuable portion of my real estate in Connecticut, however, has 
been preserved, and as I feel all the ardor of twenty years ago, and the prospect 
here is so flattering, my heart is animated with the hope of ultimately, by enter- 
prise and activity, obliterating unpleasant reminiscences, and retrieving the losses 
of the past. Experience, too, has taught me not only that, even in the matter of 
money, 'enough is as good as a feast,' but that there are, in this world, some 
things vastly better than the Almighty Dollar! Possibly I may contemplate, at 
times, the painful day when I said 'Othello's occupation's gone;' but I shall 
more frequently cherish the memory of this moment, when I am permitted to 
announce that ' Richard's himself again.' 

"Many people have wondered that a man considered so acute as myself should 
have been deluded into embarrassments like mine, and not a few have declared, 
in short meter, that ' Barnum was a fool.' I can only reply that I never made 
pretensions to the sharpness of a pawnbroker, and I hope I shall never so entirely 
lose confidence in human nature as to consider every man a scamp by instinct, or 
a rogue by necessity. ' It is better to be deceived sometimes, than to distrust 
always,' says Lord Bacon, and I agree with him. 

"Experience is said to be a hard schoolmaster, but I should be sorry to feel 
that this great lesson in adversity has not brought forth fruits of some value. I 
needed the discipline this tribulation has given me, and I really feel, after all, that 
this, like many other apparent evils, was only a blessing in disguise. Indeed, I 
may mention that the very clock factory which I built in Bridgeport, for the 
pm-pose of bringing hundreds of workmen to that city, has been purchased and 


quadrupled in size by the Wheeler and Wilson Sewing Machine Company, and is 
now filled with intelligent New England mechanics, whose families add two thou- 
sand to the population, and who are doing a great work in building up and 
beautifying that flourishing city. So that the same concern which p r ostr ated me 
seems destined as a most important agent towards my recuperation. I am certain 
that the popular sympathy has been with me from the beginning; and this, 
together with a consciousness of rectitude, is more than an offset to all the vicissi- 
tudes to which I have been subjected. 

"In conclusion, I beg to assure you and the public .that my chief pleasure, 
while health and strength are spared me, will be to cater for your and their 
healthy amusement and instruction. In future, such capabilities as I possess will 
be devoted to the maintenance of this Museum as a popular place of family resort, 
in which all that is novel and interesting shall be gathered from the four quarters 
of the globe, and which ladies and children may visit at all times unattended, 
without danger of encountering anything of an objectionable nature. The 
dramas introduced in the Lecture Room will never contain a profane expression 
or a vulgar allusion ; on the contrary, their tendency will always be to encourage 
virtue, and frown upon vice. 

"I have established connections in Em-ope, which will enable me to produce 
here a succession of interesting novelties otherwise inaccessible. Although I shall 
be personally present much of the time, and hope to meet many of my old 
acquaintances, as well as to form many new ones, I am sure you will be glad to 
learn that I have re-secured the services of one of the late proprietors, and the 
active manager of this Museum, Mr. John Greenwood, Jr. As he is a modest 
gentleman, who would be the last to praise himself, allow me to add that he is 
one to whose successful qualities as a caterer for the popular entertainments, the 
crowds that have often filled this building may well bear testimony. But, more 
than this, he is the unobtrusive one to whose integrity, diligence and devotion. I 
owe much of my present position of self -congratulation. Mr. Greenwood will 
hereafter act as assistant manager, while his late co-partner, Mr. Butler, baa 
engaged in another branch of business. Once more, thanking you all for your 
kind welcome, I bid you, till the re-opening, 4 an affectionate adieu.' " 

This off-hand speech was received with almost tumultuous applause. At nearly 
fifty years of age, I was now once more before the public with the promise to 
put on a full head of steam, to " rush things," to give double or treble the amount 
of attractions ever before offered at the Museum, and to devote all my own time 
and services to the enterprise. In return, I asked that the public should give my 
efforts the patronage they merited, and the public took me at my word. The 
daily number of visitors at once more than doubled, and my exertions to gratify 
them with rapid changes and novelties never tired. 

The announcement that I was at last out of the financial entanglement was 
variously received. That portion of the press which had followed me with abuse 
when I was down, under the belief that my case was past recovery, were chary 
in allusions to the new state of things, or passed them over without comment. 
The sycophants always knew I would get up again, "and said so at the time;" 
the many and noble journals which had stood by me and upheld me in my mis- 
fortunes, were of course rejoiced, and their words of sincere congratulation gave 
me a higher satisfaction than I have power of language to acknowledge. Letters 
of congratulation came in upon me from every quarter. Friendly hands that 
had never been withheld during the long period of my misfort one, were now 

200 Richard's himself again. 

extended with a still heartier grip. I never knew till now the warmth and 
number of my friends. 

Nor must I neglect to state that a large number of my creditors who held the 
clock notes, proved very magnanimous in taking into consideration the gross 
deception which had put me in then' power. Not a few of them said to me in 
substance: " You never supposed you had made yourself liable for this debt; you 
were deluded into it; it is not right that it should be held over you to keep you 
hopelessly down; take it, and pay me such percentage as, under the circumstances, 
it is possible for you to pay." But for such men and such consideration I fear I 
should never have got on my feet again; and of the many who rejoiced in my 
bettered fortune, not a few were of this class of my creditors. 

My old friend, the Boston Saturday Evening Gazette, which printed a few 
cheering poetical lines of consolation and hope when I was down,* now gave me 
the following from the same graceful pen, conveying glowing words of congratu- 
lation at my rise again: 


Baknum, your hand! The struggle o'er, 

You face the world and ask no favor ; 
You stand where you have stood before, 

The old salt hasn't lost its savor. 
You now can laugh with friends, at foes, 

Ne'er heeding Mrs. Grundy's tattle ; 
You've dealt and taken sturdy blows, 

Regardless of the rabble's prattle. 

Not yours the heart to harbor ill 

'Gainst those who've dealt in trivial jesting; 
You pass them with the same good will 

Erst shown when they their wit were testing. 
You're the same Barnum that we knew, 

You're good for years, still fit for labor, 
Be as of old, be bold and true, 

Honest as man, as friend, as neighbor. 

At about this period, the following poem was published in a PottsvUle, Pa. , 
paper, and copied by many journals of the day: 


Companions! fill your glasses round, 

And drink a health to one 
Who has few comiug after him, 

To do as he has done ; 
Who made a fortune for himself, 

Made fortunes, too, for many, 
Yet wronged no bosom of a sigh, 

No pocket of a penny. 
Come! shout a gallant chorus, 

And make the glasses ring, 
Here's health and luck to Barnum! 

The Exhibition King. 

Who lured the Swedish Nightingale 

To Western woods to come? 
Who prosperous and happy made 

The life of little Thumb? 
Who oped Amusement's golden door 

So cheaply to the crowd, 
And taught Morality to smile 

On all his stage allowed? 
Come! shout a gallant chorus, 

Until the glasses ring- 
Here's health and luck to Barnum! 

The Exhibition King. 

* See page 149. 



And when the sad reverses came, 

As come they may to all, 
Who stood a Hero, bold and true. 

Amid his fortune's hill 
Who to the utmost yielded up 

What Honor could not keep, 
Then took the field of life again 

With courage c:ilm and deep? 
Cornel shout a gallant chorus, 

Until the glasses dance- 
Here's health and hick to Barnum, 

The Napoleon of Finance. 

Yet, no — our hero would not look 

With smiles on such a cup ; 
Throw out the wine— with water clear, 

Fill the pure crystal up. 
Then rise, and greet with deep respect. 

The courage he has shown. 
And drink to him who well deserves 

A seat on Fortune's throne. 
Here's health and luck to Barnuinl 

An Elba he has seen, 
And never may his map of life 

Display a St. Helene ? 

Mies. Anna Bacbs. 



1 was now fairly embarked on board the good old ship American Museum, to 
try once more my skill as captain, and to see what fortune the voyage would 
bi-ing me. Curiosities began to pour into the Museum Halls, and I was eager for 
enterprises in the show line, whether as part of the Museum itself, or as outside 
accessories or accompaniments. Among the first to give me a call, with attrac- 
tions sure to prove a success, was James C. Adams, of hard-earned, grizzly-bear 
fame. This extraordinary man was eminently what is called "a character." 
He was universally known a<» " Grizsdy Adams," from the fact that he had cap- 
tured a great many grizzly bears, at the risk and cost of fearful encounters and 
perils. He was brave, and with his bravery there was enough of the romantic in 
his nature to make him a real hero. For many years a hunter and trapper in the 
Rocky and Sierra Nevada Mountains, he acquired a recklessness, which, added to 
his natural invincible courage, rendered him one of the most striking men of the 
age, and he was emphatically a man of pluck. A month after I had re-purchased 
the Museum, he arrrived in New York with his famous collection of California 
animals, captured by himself, consisting of twenty or thirty immense grizzly 
bears, at the head of which stood "Old Samson," together with several wolves, 
half a dozen different species of California bears, Calif omia lions, tigers, buffalo, 
elk, and " Old Neptune," the great sea-lion from the Pacific. 

Old Adams had trained all these monsters so that with him they were as docile 
as kittens, though many of the most ferocious among them would attack a 
stranger without hesitation, if he came within their grasp. In fact the training 
of these animals was no fool's play, as Old Adams learned to his cost, for the 
terrific blows which he received from time to time, while teaching them 
"docility," finally cost him his life.* 

Adams called on me immediately on his arrival in New York. He was dressed 
in his hunter's suit of buckskin, trimmed with the skins and bordered with the 
hanging tails of small Rocky Mountain animals; his cap consisting of the skin of 
a wolf's head and shoulders, from which depended several tails, and under which 
appeared his stiff, bushy, gray hair and his long, white, grizzly beard; in fact 
Old Adams was quite as much of a show as his beasts. They had come around 
Cape Horn on the clipper ship " Golden Fleece," and a sea voyage of three and a 
half months had probably not added much to the beauty or neat appearance of 
the old bear-hunter. During our conversation, Grizzly Adams took off his cap, 
and showed me the top of his head. His skull was literally broken in. It had, 
on various occasions, been struck by the fearful paws of his grizzly students; 
and the last blow, from the bear called "General Fremont," had laid open his 
brain so that its workings were plainly visible. I remarked that I thought it was 
a dangerous wound and might possibly prove fatal. 

* See Illustration, page 200. 



44 Yes, n replied Adams, "that will fix me out. It had nearly healed; bui 
old Fremont opened it for me, for the third or fourth time, before I left Cal- 
ifornia, and he did his business so thoroughly, I'm a used-up man. Bowevi r, I 
reckon I may live six months or a year yet." This was spoken as o oily as it he 
had been talking about the life of a dog. The immediate object of "old Adams " 
in calling upon me was this; I had purchased, a week previously, one-half inter- 
est in his California menagerie, from a man who had come by way of the Isthmus 
from California, and who claimed to own an equal interest with Adams in the 
show. Adams declared that the man had only advanced him some money, and 
did not possess the right to sell half of the concern. However, the man held a bill 
of sale for half of the " California Menagerie," and old Adams finally consented 
to accept me as an equal partner in the speculation, saying that he guessed I could 
do the managing part, and he would show up the animals. I obtained a canvas 
tent, and, erecting it on the present site of Wallack's theater. Adams there opened 
his novel California Menagerie. On the morning of opening, a band of music 
preceded a procession of animal cages down Broadway and up the Bowery, old 
Adams, dressed in his hunting costume, heading the line, with a platform wagon 
on which were placed three immense grizzly bears, two of which he held by 
chains, while he was mounted on the back of the largest grizzly, which stood in 
the center and was not secured in any manner whatever. This was the bear 
known as " General Fremont," and so docile had he become, that Adams said he 
had used him as a pack-bear, to carry his cooking and hunting apparatus through 
the mountains for six months, and had ridden him hundreds of miles. But 
apparently docile as were many of these animals, there was not one among them 
that would not occasionally give Adams a sly blow or a sly bite when a good 
chance offered; hence old Adams was but a wreck of his former self, ami 
expressed pretty nearly the truth when he said : 

" Mr. Barnum, I am not the man I was five years ago. Then I felt able to 
stand the hug of any grizzly living, and was always glad to encounter, single 
handed, any sort of an animal that dared present himself. But I have been 
beaten to a jelly, torn almost limb from limb, and nearly chawed up and spit 
out by these treacherous grizzly bears. However, I am good for a few months 
yet, and by that time I hope we shall gain enough to make my old woman 
comfortable, for I have been absent from her some years." 

His wife came from Massachusetts to New York and nursed him. Dr. Johns 
dressed his wounds every day, and not only told Adams he could never recover, 
but assured bis friends, that probably a very few weeks would la y him hi his 
grave. But Adams was as firm as adamant and as resolute as a li<>n. Among 
the thousands who saw him dressed in his grotesque hunter's suit, and witn< 
the seeming vigor with which he " performed " the savage monsters, beating 
and whipping them into apparently the most perfect docility, probably nut one 
suspected that this rough, fierce-looking, powerful demi-savage, as he appeared 
to be, was suffering intense pain from his broken skull and fevered system, and 
that nothing kept him from stretching himself on his death-bed but his most 
indomitable and extraordinary will. 

Old Adams liked to astonish others, as he often did, with his astounding stories, 
but no one could astonish him; he had seen everything and knew every thing, and 
I was anxious to get a chance of exposing this weak point to him. A fit occasion 
soon presented itself. One day, while engaged in my office at the Museum, a 
man with marked Teutonic features and accent approached the door and asked 
if I would like to buy a pair of living golden pigeons. 


" Yes," I replied, "I would like a flock of golden pigeons, if I could buy the in 
for their weight in silver; for there are no 'golden' pigeons in existence, unless 
they are made from the pure metal." 

11 You shall see some golden pigeons alive," he replied, at the same time enter- 
ing my office, and closing the door after him. He then removed the lid from a 
small basket which he carried in his hand, and sure enough, there were snugly 
ensconced a pair of beautiful, living ruff-necked pigeons, as yellow as saffron, and 
as bright as a double-eagle fresh from the mint. 

I confess I was somewhat staggered at this sight, and quickly asked the man 
where those birds came from. A dull, lazy smile crawled over the sober face of 
my German visitor, as he replied in a slow, guttural tone of voice: 

" What you think yourself?" 

Catching his meaning, I quickly replied: 

"I think it is a humbug." 

"Of course, I know you will say so; because you 'forstha' such things; so I 
shall not try to humbug you; I have colored them myself." 

On furthei inquiry, I learned that this German was a chemist, and that he pos- 
sessed the art of coloring birds any hue desired, and yet retain a natural gloss 
on the feathers, which gave every shade the appearance of reality. 

Thinking here was a good chance to catch "Grizzly Adams," I bought the pair 
of golden pigeons for ten dollars, and sent them up to the "Happy Family" 
(where I knew Adams would soon see them), marked, " Golden Pigeons, from 
California. " 

The next morning " Old Grizzly Adams," passed through the Museum when his 
eyes fell on the " Golden California Pigeons." He looked a moment and doubt- 
less admired. He soon after came to my office. 

"Mr. Barnum," said he, " you must let me have those Calif ornia pigeons." 

"I can't spare them," I replied. 

"But you must spare them. All the birds and animals from California ought 
to be together. You own half of my California menagerie, and you must lend 
me those pigeons." 

" Mr. Adams, they are too rare and valuable a bird to be hawked about in that 

"Oh, don't be a fool," replied Adams. "Rare bird, indeed! Why, they are 
just as common in California as any other pigeon I I could have brought a hun- 
dred of them from San Francisco, if I had thought of it." 

" But why did you not think of it?" I asked, with a suppressed smile. 

"Because they are so common there," said Adams, "I did not think they 
would be any curiosity here." 

I was ready to burst with laughter to see how readily Adams swallowed the 
bait, but, maintaining the most rigid gravity, I replied: 

" Oh weD, Mr. Adams, if they are really so common in California, you had 
probably better take them, and you may write over and have half a dozen pairs 
sent to me for the Museum." 

Six or eight weeks after this incident, I was in the California Menagerie, and 
noticed that the "Golden Pigeons" had assumed a frightfully mottled appear- 
ance. Their feathers had grown out and they were half white. Adams had 
been so busy with his bears that he had not noticed the change. I called him up 
to the pigeon cage, and remarked- 

"Mr. Adams, I fear you will lose your Golden Pigeons; they must be very 
sick; I observe they are turning quite pale." 


Adama looked at them a moment with astonishment, then turning to me, and 
seeing that I could not suppress a smile, he indignantly exclaimed : 

"Blast the Golden Pigeons! You had better take them back to the Museum. 
You can't humbug me with your painted pigeons! " 

This was too much, and " I laughed till I cried," to witness the mixed look of 
astonishment and vexation which marked the grizzly features of old Adams. 

After the exhibition on Thirteenth street and Broadway had been open six 
weeks, the doctor insisted that Adams should sell out his share in the nnimals and 
settle up his worldly affairs, for he assured him that he was growing weaker 
every day, and his earthly existence must soon terminate. " I shall live a good 
deal longer than you doctors think for," replied Adams, doggedly; and then, 
seeming after all to realize the truth of the doctor's assertion, he turned to me 
and said: "Well, Mr. Barnum, you must buy me out." He named bis prii 
his half of the "show," and I accepted his offer. We had arranged to exhibit 
the bears in Connecticut and Massachusetts during the summer, in connection 
with a circus, and Adams insisted that I should hire him to travel for the season 
and exhibit the bears in their curious performances. He offered to go for S60 per 
week and traveling expenses of himself and wife. I replied that I would gladly 
engage him as long as he could stand it, but I advised him to give up business and 
go to his home in Massachusetts; "for," I remarked, " you are growing weaker 
every day, and at best cannot stand it more than a fortnight." 

" What will you give me extra if I will travel and exhibit the bears every day 
for ten weeks ? " added old Adams, eagerly. 

"Five hundred dollars," I replied with a laugh. 

"Done!" exclaimed Adams, "I will do it, so draw up an agreement to that 
effect at once. But, mind you, draw it payable to ray wife, for I may ie too 
weak to attend to business after the ten weeks are up, and if I perform my part 
of the contract, I want her to get the $500 without any trouble." 

I drew up a contract to pay him $60 per week for his services, and if he con- 
tinued to exhibit the bears for ten consecutive weeks I was then to hand him, or 
his wife, $500 extra. 

"You have lost your $500! " exclaimed Adams on taking the contract; "for 1 
am bound to live and earn it." 

" I hope you may, with all my heart, and a hundred years more if you desire 
it," I replied. 

"Call me a fool if I don't earn the $500!" exclaimed Adams, with a triumph- 
ant laugh. 

The "show" started off in a few days, and at the end of a fortnight I met it at 
Hartford, Connecticut. 

"Well," said I, "Adams, you seem to stand it pretty well. I hope you and 
your wife are comfortable * " 

" Yes," he replied with a laugh; "and you may as well try to be comfortable, 
too, for your $500 is a goner." 

" All right," I replied, " I hope you will grow better everj day." 

But I saw by his pale face and other indications tliat he \\;us rapidly failing. 
In three weeks more, I met him again at New Bedford, MaJBBOhnaetta It seemed 
to me, then, that he could not live a week, for his eyes were glassy and his hands 
trembled, but his pluck was as great an - 

" This hot weather is pretty bad for me," he said, "but my ten weeks are half 
expired, and I am good for your $.500, and, probably, a month or two longer." 


This was said with as much bravado as if he was offering to bet upon a horse- 
race. I offered to pay him half of the $500, if he would give up and go home; 
but he peremptorily declined making any compromise whatever. I met him the 
ninth week in Boston. He had failed considerably since I last saw him, but he 
still continued to exhibit the bears, although he was too weak to lead them in, 
and he chuckled over his almost certain triumph. I laughed in return, and sin- 
cerely congratulated him on his nerve and probable success. I remained with 
him until the tenth week was finis hed, and handed him his $500. He took it with 
a leer of satisfaction, and remarked, that he was sorry I was a teetotaler, for he 
would like to stand treat 1 

Just before the menagerie left New York, I had paid $150 for a new hunting- 
suit, made of beaver skins, similar to the one which Adams had worn. This I 
intended for Herr Driesbach, the animal -tamer, who was engaged by me to take 
the place of Adams, whenever he should be compelled to give up. Adams, on start- 
ing from New York, asked me to loan this new dress to him to perform in once 
in a while in a fair day, where he had a large audience, for his own costume was 
considerably soiled. I did so, and now when I handed him his $500, he remarked: 

"Mr. Barnum, I suppose you are going to give me this new hunting-dress ? " 

"Oh, no," I replied, "I got that for your successor, who will exhibit the 
bears to-morrow; besides, you have no possible use for it." 

" Now, don't be mean, but lend me the dress, if you won't give it to me, for I 
want to wear it home to my native village." 

I could not refuse the poor old man anything, and I therefore replied: 

"Well, Adams, I will lend you the dress; but you will send it back to me ?" 

"Yes, when I have done with it," he replied, with an evident chuckle of 

I thought to myself, he will soon be done with it, and replied: "That's all 

A new idea evidently struck him, for, with a brightening look of satisfaction, 
he said: 

"Now, Barnum, you have made a good thing out of the California menagerie, 
and so have I; but you will make a heap more. So if you won't give me this 
new hunter's dress, just draw a little writing, and sign it, saying that I may 
wear it until I have done with it." 

I knew that in a few days, at longest, he would be "done" with this world 
altogether, and, to gratify him, I cheerfully drew and signed the paper. 

" Come, old Yankee, I've got you this time — see if I hain't ! " exclaimed Adams, 
with a broad grin, as he took the paper. 

I smiled, and said: 

" All right, my dear fellow; the longer you live the better I shall like it." 

We parted, and he went to Charlton, Worcester County, Mass., wh^re his 
wife and daughter lived. He took at once to his bed, and never rose from it 
again. The excitement had passed away, and his vital energies could accomplish 
no more. The fifth day after arriving home, the physician told him he could not 
live until the next morning. He received the announcement ki perfect calmness, 
and with the most apparent indifference; then, turning to his wife, with a smile 
he requested her to have him buried in the new hunting-suit. "For," said he, 
"Barnum agreed to let me have it until I have done with it, and I was deter- 
mined to fix his flint this time. He shall never see that dress again." That dress 
was indeed the shroud in which he was entombed. 


After the death of Adams, the grizzly bears and other animals, were added to 
the collection in my Museum, and I employed Herr Driesbach, the celebrated 
lion-tamer, as an exhibitor. Some time afterwards the bears were sold to a men- 
agerie company, but I kept "Old Neptune," the sea-lion, for several years, Bend- 
ing him occasionally for exhibitions in other cities, as far west as Chicago. 

On the thirteenth of October, 1860, the Prince of Wales, then making a tour m 
the United States, in company with his suite, visited the American Museum.* 
This was a very great compliment, since it was the only place of amusement the 
Prince attended in this country. Unfortunately, I was in Bridgeport at the time, 
and the Museum was in charge of my manager, Mr. Greenwood. 

On leaving the Museum, the Prince asked to see Mr. Barnum, and when he 
was told that I was out of town, he remarked: "We have missed the most inter- 
esting feature of the establishment." A few days afterwards, when the Prince 
was in Boston, happening to be in that city, I sent my card to him at the Revere 
House, and was cordially received- He smiled when I reminded him that I had 
seen him when he was a little boy, on the occasion of one of my visits to Buck- 
ingham Palace with General Tom Thumb. The Prince told me that he was much 
pleased with his recent inspection of my Museum, and that he and his suite had 
left their autographs in the establishment, as mementoes of their visit. 

Meanwhile the Museum nourished better than ever ; and I began to make large 
holes in the mortgages which covered the property of my wife hi New York and 
in Connecticut. Still, there was an immense amount of debts resting upon all 
her real estate, and nothing but time, economy, industry and diligence would 
remove the burdens. 

•See Illustration, page 112. 



For nearly five years my family had been knocked about, the sport of adverse 
fortune, without a settled home. Sometimes we boarded, and at other times we 
lived in a small hired house. Two of my daughters were married, and my youngest 
daughter, Pauline, was away at boarding-school. The health of my wife was 
much impaired, and she especially needed a fixed residence which she could call 
"home." Accordingly, in 1860, I built a pleasant house adjoining that of 
my daughter Caroline, in Bridgeport, one hundred rods west of the grounds of 

Meanwhile, my pet city, East Bridgeport, was progressing with giant strides. 
The Wheeler and Wilson Sewing Machine manufactory had been quadrupled in 
size, and employed about a thousand workmen. Numerous other large factories 
had been built, and scores of first-class houses were erected, besides many neat 
but smaller and cheaper houses for laborers and mechanics. That piece of 
property, which, but eight years before, had been farm land, with scarcely sis 
houses upon the whole tract, was now a beautiful new city, teeming with busy 
life, and looking as neat as a new pin. 

I copy from the files of the Bridgeport Standard, an offer which I made, and 
the editorial comment thereon. This offer was for the sake of helping those who 
were willing to help themselves, and, at the same time, contribute to my happi- 
ness, as well as their own, by forwarding the growth of the new city. 

"EVERT man to own the house he lives in. 

" There is a demand at the present moment for two hundred more dwelling-houses In 
East Bridgeport. It is evident that il* the money expended in rent can be paid towards the 
purchase of a house and lot, the person so paying will in a few years own the house he lives 
in, instead of always remaining a tenant. In view of this fact, I propose to loan money at 
six per cent, to any number, not exceeding fifty, industrious, temperate and respectable 
individuals, who desire to build their own houses. 

" They may engage their own builders, and build according to any reasonable plan (which 
I may approve), or I will have it done for them at the lowest possible rate, without a far- 
thing profit to myself or agent, I putting the lot at a fair price and advancing eighty per cent, 
of the entire cost; the other party to furnish twenty per cent, in labor, material or money, 
and they may pay me in small sums weekly, monthly or quarterly, any amount not less than 
three per cent, per quarter, all oi which is to apply on the money advanced until it is paid. 

" It has been ascertained that by purchasing building materials for cash, and in large 
quantities, nice dwellings, painted and furnished with green blinds, can be erected at a cost 
of $1,500 or $1,800, for house, lot, fences, etc., all complete, and if six or eight friends prefer 
to join in erecting a neat block of houses with verandas in front, the average cost need not 
exceed about $1,300 per house and lot. If, however, some parties would prefer a single or 
double house that would cost $2,500 to $3,000, I shall be glad to meet their views. 

"P. T. Barnum. 

u February 16, 1864." 

The editor of the Standard printed the following upon my announcement: 

** An Advantageous Offer.— We have read with great pleasure Mr. Barnum's adver- 
tisement, offering assistance to any number of persons, not exceeding fifty, in the erection 

* See Illustration, opposite. 




of dwelling-houses. Th\9 plan combines all the advantages and none of the objections of 

Building Associations. Any individual who cm furnish in cash, labor, or material, uue- 
rifth only of the amount requisite for the erection of a dwelling-house, can receive the other 
four-fifths from Mr. Barnum, reut his house and by merely paying what may be considered as 
only a fair rent for a lew years, find himself at last the owner, and all further payments 
cease. In the mean time, he can be making such inexpensive improvements in his property 
as would greatly Increase its market value, and besides have the advantage of any rise in 
the value of real estate. It is not often that such a generous oiler is made to working men. 
It is a loan on what would be generally considered inadequate security, at six per cent., at a 
time when a much better use of money can be made by any capitalist. It is therefore gen- 
erous. Mr. Barnum may make money by the operation. Very well, perhaps he will, but if 
he does, it will be by making others richer, not poorer ; by helping those who need as>Ht- 
ance, not by hindering them, and we can only wish that every rich man would follow such 
a noble example, and thus, without injury to themselves, give a helping hand to those who 
need it. Success to the enterprise. We hope that fifty men will be found before the week 
ends, each of whom desires in such a manner*to obtain a roof which he can call his own." 

Quite a number of men at once availed themselves of my offer, and eventually 
succeeded in paying for their homes without much effort. I am sorry to add, 
that rent is still paid, month after month, by many men who would long ago 
have owned neat homesteads, free from all incumbrances, if they had accepted 
my proposals, and had signed and kept the temperance pledge, and given up the 
use of tobacco. The money they have since expended for whisky and tobacco, 
would have given them a house of their own, if the money had been devoted to 
that object, and then- positions, socially and morally, would have been far better 
than they are to-day. How many infatuated men there are in all parts of the 
country, who could now be independent, and even owners of their own carriages, 
but for their slavery to these miserable habits 1 

The land hi East Bridgeport was originally purchased by me at from $50 to $75, 
and from those sums to $300 per acre ; and the average cost of all I bought on 
that side of the river was $200 per acre. Some portions of this land are now 
assessed in the Bridgeport tax-list at from $3,000 to $4,000 per acre. At the time 
I joined Mr. Noble in this enterprise, the site we purchased was not a part of the 
city of Bridgeport. It is now, however, a most important section of the city, 
and the three bridges connecting the two banks of the river, and originally char- 
tered as toll-bridges, have been bought by the city and thrown open as free 
highways to the public. A horse railroad, in which I took one-tenth part of the 
stock, connects the two portions of the city, extending westerly beyond Iranistan 
and Lindencroft, while a branch road runs to the beautiful ''Sea-side Park" on 
the Sound shore. 

General Noble, in laying out the first portion of our new city, named several 
streets after members of his own family, and also of mine. Hence, we have a 
" Noble " street — and a noble street it is; a "Barnum" street; while other streets 
are named " William," from Mr Noble; "Harriet," the Christian name of Mrs. 
Noble; "Hallett," the maiden name of my wife; and "Caroline," "Helen," and 
" Pauline," the names of my three daughters. There is also the " Barnum School 
District " and school-house ; so that it seems as if, for a few scores of years at 
least, posterity would know who were the founders of the new, flourishing and 
beautiful city. We have yet another enduring and ever-growing monument in 
the many thousands of trees which we set out, and which now fine and gratefully 
shade the streets of East Bridgeport. . 

Three handsome churches, Methodist, Episcopal and Congregational, front on 
the beautiful Washington Park of seven acres, which Mr. Noble and myself pre- 
sented to the city. Some of the largest and most prosperous manufactories in 
the United States are located in the new city. 


The eatire city of Bridgeport is advancing in population and prosperity with a 
rapidity far beyond that of any other city in Connecticut, and everything indi- 
cates that ic will soon take its proper position as the second, if not the first, city in 
the State. Its situation as the terminus of the Naugatuck and the Housatonic rail- 
ways, its accessibility to New York, with its two daily steamboats to and from 
the metropolis, and its dozen daily trains of the New York and Boston and Shore 
Line railways, are all elements of prosperity which are rapidly telling in favor of 
this busy, beautiful and chai-ming city. 



In 1861, I learned that some fishermen at the mouth of the St. Lawrence had 
succeeded in capturing a living white whale, and I was also inf onned that a whale 
of this kind, if placed in a box lined with sea-weed and partially filled with salt 
water, could be transported by land to a considerable distance, and be kept alive. 
It was simply necessary that an attendant, supplied with a barrel of salt water 
and a sponge, should keep the mouth and blow-hole of the whale constantly 

Having made up my mind to capture and transport to my Museum at least two 
living whales, I prepared in the basement of the building a brick and cement 
tank, forty feet long, and eighteen feet wide, for their reception. This done, I 
started upon my whaling expedition. Going by rail to Quebec, and thence by 
the Grand Trunk Railroad, ninety miles, to Wells river, I chartered a sloop to 
Elbow island (Isle au Coudres), in the St. Lawrence river, populated by Canadian 
French people. I contracted with a party of twenty -four fishermen, to capture 
for me, ahve and unharmed, a couple of white whales, scores of which could at 
all times be discovered by their " spouting " within sight of the island.* 

The plan decided upon was to plant in the river a " kraal," composed of stakes 
driven down in the form of a V, leaving the broad end open for the whales to 
enter. This was done in a shallow place, with the point of the kraal towards 
shore ; and if by chance one or more whales should enter the trap at high water, 
my fishermen were to occupy the entrance with their boats, and keep up a tre- 
mendous splashing and noise till the tide receded, when the frightened whales 
would find themselves nearly "high and dry," or with too little water to enable 
them to swim, and their capture would be next thing in order. This was to be 
effected by securing a slip-noose of stout rope over their tails, and towing them 
to the sea-weed lined boxes in which they were to be transported to New York. 

It was aggravating to see the whales glide so near the trap without going into 
it, and our patience was sorely tried. One day a whale actually went into the 
kraal, and the fishermen proposed to capture it ; but I wanted another, and while 
we waited for number two to go in number one went out. After several days I 
was awakened at daylight by a great noise, and amid the clamor of many voices, 
I caught the cheering news that two whales were even then within the kraid. 
Leaving the details of capture and transportation to my trusty assistants, I 
started at once for New York, leaving at every station on the line instructions to 
telegraph operators to "take off" all whaling messages that passed over the wires 
to New York, and to inform their fellow-townsmen at what hour the whales 
would pass through each place. 

The result of these arrangements may be imagined; at every station crowds of 
people came to the cars to see the whales which were traveling by land to Bar- 
num's Museum, and those who did not see the monsters with their own eyes, at 

* See Illustration, page 216. 



least saw some one who had seen them, and I thus secured a tremendous adver- 
tisement, seven hundred miles long, for the American Museum. 

Arrived in New York, despatches continued to come from the whaling expe- 
dition every few hours. These I bulletined in front of the Museum and sent 
copies to the papers. The excitement was intense, and, when at last, these marine 
monsters arrived and were swimming in the tank that had been prepared for 
them, anxious thousands literally rushed to see the strangest curiosities ever 
exhibited in New York. 

Thus was my first whaling expedition a great success ; but I did not know how 
to feed or to take care of the monsters, and, moreover, they were in fresh water, 
and this, with the bad air in the basement, may have hastened their death, which 
occurred a few days after their arrival, but not before thousands of people had 
seen them. Not at all discouraged, I resolved to try again. My plan now was 
to connect the water of New York bay with the basement of the Museum by 
means of iron pipes under the street, and a steam engine on the dock to pump 
the water. This I actually did at a cost of several thousand dollars, with an 
extra thousand to the aldermanic "ring* for the privilege, and I constructed 
another tank in the second floor of the building. This tank was built of slate and 
French glass plates six feet long, five feet broad, and one inch thick, imported 
expressly for the purpose, and the tank, when completed, was twenty-f our feet 
square, and cost $4,000. It was kept constantly supplied with what would be 
called, Hibernically, "fresh" salt water, and inside of it I soon had two white 
whales, caught, as the first had been, hundreds of miles below Quebec, to which 
city they were carried by a sailing vessel, and from thence were brought by 
railway to New York. 

Of this whole enterprise, I confess I was very proud that I had originated it 
and brought it to such successful conclusion. It was a very great sensation, and 
it added thousands of dollars to my treasury. The whales, however, soon died — 
their sudden and immense popularity was too much for them — and I then 
despatched agents to the coast of Labrador, and not many weeks thereafter I had 
two more live whales disporting themselves in my monster aquarium. Certain 
envious people started the report that my whales were only porpoises, but this 
petty malice was turned to good account, for Professor Agassiz, of Harvard Uni- 
versity, came to se6 them, and gave me a certificate that they were genuine white 
whales, and this endorsement I published far and wide. 

The tank which I had built in the basement served for a yet more interesting 
exhibition. On the twelfth of August, 1861, I began to exhibit the first and only 
genuine hippopotamus that had ever been seen in America, and for several weeks 
the Museum was thronged by the curious who came to see the monster. I adver- 
tised him extensively and ingeniously, as "the great behemoth of the Scriptures," 
giving a full description of the animal and his habits, and thousands of cultivated 
people, biblical students, and others, were attracted to this novel exhibition. 
There was quite as much excitement in the city over this wonder in the animal 
creation as there was in London when the first hippopotamus was placed in the 
zoological collection in Regent's Park. 

Having a stream of salt water at my command at every high tide, I was 
enabled to make splendid additions to the beautiful aquarium, which I was the 
first to introduce into this country. I not only procured living sharks, porpoises, 
sea horses, and many rare fish from the sea in the vicinity of New York, but in 
the summer of 1861, and for several summers in succession, I despatched a fishing 
smack and crew to the Islands of Bermuda and its neighborhood, whence they 


brought scores of specimens of the beautiful "angel fish," and numerous other 
tropical fish of brilliant colors and unique forms. In the same year, I bought 
out the Aquarial Gardens in Boston, and soon after removed the collection to the 

In December, 1S01, I made one of my most "palpable hits." I was visit. 
the Museum by a most remarkable dwarf, who was a sharp, intelligent little 
fellow, with a deal of drollery and wit. He had a splendid head, was perfectly 
formed, and was very attractive, and, in short, for a "showman," he \\;is ■ per- 
fect treasure. His name, he told me, was George Washington Morrison Nutt, 
and his father was Major Roclnia Nutt, a substantial farmer, of Manchester, New 
Hampshire. I was not long in despatching an efficient agent to Manchester, ami 
in overcoming the competition with other showmen who were equally eager to 
secure this extraordinary pigmy. The terms upon which I engaged him for three 
years were so large that he was christened the $30,000 Nutt; I, in the meantime, 
conferring upon him the title of Commodore. As soon as I engaged him, placards, 
posters and the columns of the newspapers proclaimed the presence of " Commo- 
dore Nutt," at the Museum. I also procured for the Commodore a pair of Shet- 
land ponies, miniature coachman and footman, in livery, gold-mounted harness, 
and an elegant little carriage, which, when closed, represented a gigantic English 
walnut. The little Commodore attracted great attention, and grew rapidly in 
public favor. General Tom Thumb was then traveling in the South and West. 
For some years he had not been exhibited in New York, and during these years 
he had increased considerably in rotundity and had changed much hi his general 
appearance. It was a singular fact, however, that Commodore Nutt was almost 
a facsimile of General Tom Thumb, as he looked half-a-dozen years before. 
Consequently, very many of my patrons, not making allowance for the time 
which had elapsed since they had last seen the General, declared that there was 
no such person as " Commodore Nutt;" but that I was exhibiting my old friend 
Tom Thumb under a new name. 

Commodore Nutt enjoyed the joke very much. He would sometimes half 
admit the deception, simply to add to the bewilderment of the doubting portiou 
of my visitors. 

It was evident that here was an opportunity to turn all doubts into hard cash, 
by simply bringing the two dwarf Dromios together, and showing them on the 
same platform. I therefore induced Tom Thumb to bring his western engage- 
ments to a close, and to appear for four weeks, beginning with August 11, L802, 
in my Museum. Announcements headed "The Two Dromios," and "Two 
Smallest Men, and Greatest Curiosities Living," as I expected, drew large crowds 
to see them, and many came especially to solve their doubts with regard to the 
genuineness of the " Nutt." But here I was considerably nonplussed, for aston- 
ishing as it may seem, the doubts of many of the visitors were confirmed! The 
sharp people who were determined "not to be humbugged, anyhow," still 
declared that Commodore Nutt was General Tom Thumb, and that the little 
fellow whom I was trying to pass off as Tom Thumb, was no more like the Gen- 
eral than he was like the man in the moon. It is very amusing to see how people 
will sometimes deceive themselves by being too incredulous, 

In 1802, I sent the Commodore to Washington, and, joining him there, I 
received an invitation from President Lincoln to call at the White House with 
my little friend. Arriving at the appointed hour, I was informed that the Presi- 
dent was in a special cabinet moo t ing , but that he had left word if I called I 
shown in to him with the Commodore. These were dark days in the rebellion 


and 1 felt that my visit, if not ill-timed, must at all events be brief. When we 
were admitted, Mr. Lincoln received us cordially, and introduced us to the mem- 
bers of the Cabinet. When Mr. Chase was introduced as the Secretary of the 
Treasury, the little Commodore remarked: 

" I suppose you are the gentleman who is spending so much of Uncle Sam's 
money ? " 

"No, indeed," said Secretary of War Stanton, very promptly: " I am spending 
the money." 

"Well" said Commodore Nutt, "it is in a good cause, anyhow, and I guess it 
will come out all right." 

His apt remark created much amusement. Mr. Lincoln then bent down his 
long, lank body, and taking Nutt by the hand, he said: 

"Commodore, permit me to give you a parting word of advice. When you 
are in command of your fleet, if you find yourself in danger of being taken 
prisoner, I advise you to wade ashore." 

The Commodore found the laugh was against him, but placing himself at the 
side of the President, and gradually raising his eyes up the whole length of Mr. 
Lincoln's very long legs, he replied: 

"I guess, Mr. President, you could do that better than I could." 

Commodore Nutt and the Nova Scotia giantess, Anna Swan, illustrate the 
old proverb sufficiently to show how extremes occasionally met in my Museum. 
He was the shortest of men and she was the tallest of women. I first heard of 
her through a Quaker who came into my office one day and told me of a wonder- 
ful girl, seventeen years of age, who resided near him at Pictou, Nova Scotia, 
and who was probably the tallest girl in the world. I asked him to obtain her 
exact height, on his return home, which he did, and sent it to me, and I at once 
sent an agent who in due time came back with Anna Swan. She was an intelli- 
gent and by no means ill-looking girl, and during the long period while she was 
in my employ, she was visited by thousands of persons. After the burning of 
my second Museum, she went to England where she attracted great attention. 

For many years I had been in the habit of engaging parties of American 
Indians from the far west, to exhibit at the Museum, and had sent two or more 
Indian companies to Europe, where they were regarded as very great " curiosi- 
ties." In 1864, ten or twelve chiefs of as many different tribes, visited the 
President of the United States, at Washington. By a pretty liberal outlay of 
money, I succeeded in inducing the interpreter to bring them to New York, and 
to pass some days at my Museum. Of course, getting these Indians to dance, or 
to give any illustration of their games or pastimes, was out of the question. 
They were real chiefs of powerful tribes, and would no more have consented to 
give an exhibition of themselves than the chief magistrate of our own nation 
would have done. Their interpreter could not therefore promise that they would 
remain at the Museum for any definite time ; " for," said he, " you can only keep 
them just so long as they suppose all your patrons come to pay them visits 
of honor. If they suspected that your Museum was a place where people paid 
for entering," he continued, "you could not keep them a moment after the 

On their arrival at the Museum, therefore, I took them upon the stage and per- 
sonally introduced them to the public. The Indians liked this attention from me, 
as they had been informed that I was the proprietor of the great establishment 
hi which they were invited and honored guests. My patrons were of course 
pleased to see these old chiefs, as they knew they were the "real thing," and 


several of them were known to the public, either as being friendly or cruel to 
the whites. After one or two appearances ou the stage, I took them in carriages 
and visited the Mayor of New York in the Governor's room at the City HalL 
Here the Mayor made them a speech of welcome, which being i n terpreted to the 
savages was responded to by a speech from one of the chiefs, in which lie thanked 
the great "Father" of the city for his pleasant words, and for his kindness 
in pointing out the portraits of his predecessors hanging on the walls of the 
Governor's room. 

On another occasion, I took them by special invitation to visit one of the large 
public schools up town. The teachers were pleased to see them, and arranged an 
exhibition of special exercises by the scholars, which they thought would be most 
likely to gratify their barbaric visitors. At the close of these exercises, one old 
chief arose, and simply said, " This is all new to us. We are mere unlearned sons 
of the forest, and cannot understand what we have seen and heard." 

On other occasions, I took them to ride in Central Park, and through different 
portions of the city. At every street corner which we passed, they would 
express their astonishment to each other, at seeing the long rows of houses which 
extended both ways on either side of each cross-street. Of course, between each 
of these outside visits I would return with them to the Museum, and secure two 
or three appearances upon the stage to receive the people who had there congre- 
gated "to do them honor." 

As they regarded me as their host, they did not hesitate to trespass upon my 
hospitality. Whenever their eyes rested upon a glittering shell among my speci- 
mens of conchology, especially if it had several brilliant colors, one would take 
off his coat, another his shirt, and insist that I should exchange my shell for their 
garment. When I declined the exchange, but on the contrary presented them 
with the coveted article, I soon found I had established a dangerous precedent. 
Immediately, they all commenced to beg for everything in my vast collection, 
which they happened to take a liking to. This cost me many valuable specimens, 
and often ' ' put me to my trumps " for an excuse to avoid giving them things which 
I could not part with. 

The chief of one of the tribes one day discovered an ancient shirt of chain- 
mail which hung in one of my cases of antique armor. He was delighted with it, 
and declared he must have it. I tried all sorts of excuses to prevent his getting 
it, for it had cost me a hundred dollars, and was a great curiosity. But the old 
man's eyes glistened, and he would not take "no" for an answer. "The Utes 
have killed my little child," he told me through the interpreter; and now he must 
have this steei shirt to protect himself; and when he returned to the Rocky Moun- 
tains he would have his revenge. I remained inexorable until he finally brought 
me a new buckskin Indian suit, which he insisted upon exchanging. I felt com- 
pelled to accept his proposal; and never did I see a man more delighted than he 
seemed to be when he took the mailed shirt into his hands. He fairly jumped up 
and down with joy. He ran to his lodging-room, and soon appeared again with 
the coveted armor upon his body, and marched down one of the main hails of the 
Museum, with folded arms, and head erect, occasionally patting his breast with 
his right hand, as much as to say, "now, Mr. Ute, look sharp, for I will soon be 
on the war path !" 

Among these Indians were War Bonnet, Lean Bear, and Hand in -tin-- water, 
chiefs of the Cheyennes; Yellow Buffalo, of the Kiowas: Yellow Bear, of the 
same tribe; Jacob, of the Caddos; ami White Bull, of the Apaches. The little 
wiry chief known as Yellow Bear had killed many whites as they had traveled 


through the "far west." He was a sly, treacherous, blood-tairsty savage, who 
would think no more of scalping a family of women and children, than a butchei 
would of wringing the neck of a chicken. But now he was on a mission to the 
" Great Father" at Washington, seeking for presents and favors for his tribe, and 
he pretended to be exceedingly meek and humble, and continually urged the 
interpreter to announce him as a " great friend to the white man." He would 
fawn about me, and although not speaking or understanding a word of our lan- 
guage, would try to convince me that he loved me dearly. 

In exhibiting these Indian warriors on the stage, I explained to the large audi- 
ences the names and characteristics of each. When I came to Yellow Bear I 
would pat him familiarly upon the shoulder, which always caused him to look up 
to me with a pleasant smile, while he Softly stroked down my arm with his right 
hand in the most loving manner. Knowing that he could not understand a word 
I said, I pretended to be complimenting him to the audience, while I was really 
saying something like the following: 

"This little Indian, ladies and gentlemen, is Yellow Bear, chief of the Kiowas. 
He has killed, no doubt, scores of white persons, and he is probably the meanest, 
black-hearted rascal that lives in the far west." Here I patted him on the head, 
and he, supposing I was sounding his praises, would smile, fawn upon me, and 
stroke my arm, while I continued: " If the blood-thirsty little villain understood 
what I was saying, he would kill me in a moment; but as he thinks I am compli 
menting him, I can safely state the truth to you, that he is a lying, thieving, 
treacherous, murderous monster. He has tortured to death poor, unprotected 
women, murdered their husbands, brained their helpless little ones; and he would 
gladly do the same to you or to me, if he thought he could escape punishment. 
This is but a faint description of the character of Yellow Bear." Here I gave 
him another patronizing pat on the head, and he, with a pleasant smile, bowed to 
the audience, as much as to say that my words were quite true, and that he 
thanked me very much for the high encomiums I had so generously heaped upon 

After they had been about a week at the Museum, one of the chiefs discovered 
that visitors paid money for entering. This information he soon communicated 
to the other chiefs, and I heard an immediate murmur of discontent. Their eyes 
were opened, and no power could induce them to appear again upon the stage. 
Their dignity had been offended, and their wild, flashing eyes were anything but 
agreeable. Indeed, I hardly felt safe in their presence, and it was with a feeling 
of relief that I witnessed their departure for Washington the next morning. 



In 1863 I heard of an extraordinary dwarf girl, named Lavinia Warren, who 
was residing with her parents at Middleboro', Massachusetts, and I sent an invi- 
tation to her and her parents to come and visit me at Bridgeport. They came, 
and I found her to be a most intelligent and refined young lady, well educated, 
and an accomplished, beautiful and perfectly developed woman in miniature. 1 
succeeded in making an engagement with her for several years, during which she 
contracted — as dwarfs are said to have the power to do — to visit Great Britain, 
France, and other foreign lands. 

Having arranged the terms of her engagement, I took her to the house of one 
of my daughters in New York, where she remained quietly, while I was procur 
ing her wardrobe and jewelry, and making arrangements for her debut. 

I purchased a very splendid wardrobe for Mies Warren, including scores of the 
richest dresses that could be procured, costly jewels, and in fact everything that 
could add to the charms of her naturally charming little person. She was then 
placed on exhibition at the Museum, and from the day of her debut she was 
on extraordinary success. Commodore Nutt was on exhibition with her, and 
although he was several years her junior, he evidently took a great fancy to her. 
One day I presented to Lavinia a diamond and emerald ring, and as it did not 
exactly fit her finger, I told her I would give her another one and that she might 
present this one to the Commodore in her own name. She did so, and an unlooked- 
for effect was speedily apparent; the little Commodore felt sure that this was a 
love-token, and poor Lavinia was in the greatest trouble, for she considered herself 
quite a woman, and regarded the Commodore only as a nice little boy. But she 
did not like to offend him, and while she did not encourage, she did not openly 
repel his attentions. Miss Lavinia Warren, however, was never destined to be 
Mrs. Commodore Nutt. 

It was by no means an unnatural circumstance that I should be suspected of 
having instigated and brought about the marriage of Tom Thumb with Lavinia 
Warren. Had I done this, I should at this day have felt no regrets, for it has 
proved, in an eminent degree, one of the "happy marriages." I only say, what 
is known to all of their immediate friends, that from first to last their engage- 
ment was an affair of the heart— a case of "love at first sight "—that the attach- 
ment was mutual, and that it only grows with the lapse of time. But I had 
neither part nor lot in instigating or in occasioning the marriage. And as I am 
anxious to be put right before the public, I have procured the consent of all the 
parties to a sketch of the wooing, winning and nuptials. Of course I should not 
lay these details before the public, except with the sanction of those most inter- 
ested. In this they consent to pay the f>enalty of distinction. And if the wooings 
of kings and queens must be told, why not the courtship and marriage of General 
and Mrs. Tom Thumb ? The story is an interesting one, and shall be told alike to 
exonerate me from the suspicion named, and to amuse those— and they count by 
scores of thousands — who are interested in the welfare of the distinguished 

10 217 


In the autumn of 1802, when Lavinia Warren was on exhibition at the Museum, 
Tom Thumb had no business engagement with me; in fact, he was not on exhibi- 
tion at the time at all; he was taking a "vacation" at his house in Bridgeport. 
Whenever he came to New York he naturally called upon me, his old friend, at 
the Museum. He happened to be in the city at the time referred to, and one day 
he called, quite unexpectedly to me, while Lavinia was holding one of her levees. 
Here he now saw her for the first time, and very naturally made her acquaintance 
He had a short interview with her, after which he came directly to my private 
office and desired to see me alone. Of course I complied with his request, but 
without the remotest suspicion as to his object. I closed the door, and the Gen- 
eral took a seat. His first question let in the fight. He inquired about the family 
of Lavinia Warren. I gave him the facts, which I clearly perceived gave him 
satisfaction of a peculiar sort. He then said, with great frankness, and with no 
less earnestness: 

" Mr. Bamuni, that is the most charming little lady I ever saw, and I believe 
she was created on purpose to be my wife ! Now," he continued, "you have 
always been a friend of mine, and I want you to say a good word for me to her. 
I have got plenty of money, and I want to marry and settle down in life, and 
I really feel as if I must marry that young lady." 

The little General was highly excited, and his general manner betrayed the 
usual anxiety, which, I doubt not, most of my readers will understand without a 
description. I could not repress a smile, nor forget my joke, and I said: 

" Lavinia is engaged already." 

"To whom — Commodore Nutt?" asked Tom Thumb, with much earnestness, 
and some exhibition of the "green-eyed monster." 

"No, General, to me," I replied 

"Never mind," said the General, laughing, "you can exhibit her for a while, 
and then give up the engagement; but I do hope you will favor my suit with her." 

"WelL General," I replied, "I will not oppose you in your suit, but you must 
do your own courting. I tell you, however, the Commodore will be jealous uf 
you, and more than that, Miss Warren is nobody's fool, and you will have to 
proceed very cautiously if you can succeed in winning her affections." 

The General thanked me, and promised to be very discreet. A change now 
came suddenly over him in several particulars. He had been (much to his credit) 
very fond of his country home in Bridgeport, where he spent his intervals of rest 
with his horses, and especially with his yacht, for his fondness for the water was 
his great passion. But now he was constantly having occasion to visit the city, 
and horses and yachts were strangely neglected. He had a married sister in New 
York, and his visits to her multiplied, for, of course, he came to New York "to 
iee his sister ! " His mother, who resided in Bridgeport, remarked that Charles 
had never before shown so much brotherly affection, nor so much fondness for 
city life. 

His visits to the Museum were very frequent, and it was noticeable that new 
relations were being established between him and Commodore Nutt. The Com- 
modore was not exactly jealous, yet he strutted around like a bantam rooster 
whenever the Geueral approached lavinia. One day he and the General got into 
a friendly scuffle in the dressing-room, and the Commodore threw the General 
upon his back in " double quick " time. The Commodore is lithe, wiry, and quick 
in his movements, but the General is naturally slow, and although he was con- 
siderably heavier than the Commodore, he soon found that he could not stand 
before him in a personal encounter Moreover, the Commodore is naturally 


quick-tempered, and, when excited, he brags about his knowledge of "the manly 
art of self-defence," and sometimes talks about pistols and bowie knives, etc. 
Tom Thumb, 3n the contrary, is by natural disposition decidedly a m an of peace; 
hence, in this, agreeing with Falstaff as to what constituted the "better part of 
valor," he was strongly inclined to keep his distance, if the little Commodore 
showed any belligerent symptoms. 

In the course of several weeks the General found numerous opportunities to 
talk with Lavinia, while the Commodore was performing on the stage, or was 
otherwise engaged ; and, to a watchful discerner, it was evident he was making 
encouraging progress in the affair of the heart. He also managed to meet Lavinia 
on Sunday afternoons and evenings, without the knowledge of the Commodore; 
but he assured me he had not yet dared to suggest matrimony. 

He finally returned to Bridgeport, and privately begged that on the following 
Saturday I would take Lavinia up to my house, and also invite him. 

His immediate object in this was, that his mother might get acquainted with 
Lavinia, for he feared opposition from that source whenever the idea of his mar- 
riage should be suggested. I could do no less than accede to his proposal and on 
the following Friday, while Lavinia and the Commodore were sitting in the 
green-room, I said: 

" Lavinia, you may go up to Bridgeport with me to-morrow morning, and 
remain until Monday." 

" Thank you," she replied; " it will be quite a relief to get into the country for 
a couple of days." 

The Commodore imm ediately pricked up his ears, and said: 

" Mr. Barnum, /should like to go to Bridgeport to-morrow." 

"What for?" I asked. 

" I want to see my little ponies; I have not seen them tor several months," he 

I whispered in his ear, " you little rogue, that is the pony you want to see," 
pointing to Lavinia. 

He insisted I was mistaken. When I remarked that he could not well be spared 
from the Museum, he said: 

" Oh ! I can perform at half -past seven o'clock, and then jump on to the eight 
o'clock evening train, and go up by myself, reaching Bridgeport before eleven, 
and return early Monday morning." 

I feared there would be a clashing of interests between the rival pigmies; but 
wishing to please him, I consented to his request, especially as Lavinia also 
favored it. I wished I could then fathom that little woman's heart, and see 
whether she (who must have discovered the secret of the General's frequent visits 
to the Museum) desired the Commodore's visit in order to stir up the General's 
ardor, or whether, as seemed to me the more likely, she was seeking in this 
to prevent a denouement which she was nut inclined to favor. ( Sertain it is, 

ii 1 whs the General's confidant, and knew all his desires upon tl. 
no person had discovered the slightest evidence ihat Lavinia Warren 
entertained the remotest suspicion of his thoogbtB regarding mai 
had made the discovery, as I assume, she kept the secret wrelL In fact* 1 aamred 
Tom Thumb that every indication, bo Car as any of us could observe, was to tin- 
effect that his suit would be rejected. The little General was fidgety, but deter- 
mined; hence he was anxious to have Lavinia meet Ins mother, and also see his 
possessions in Bridgeport, for he owned considerable land and numerous houses 


The General met us at the depot in Bridgeport, on Saturday morning, and 
drove us to my house in his own carriage — his coachman being tidily dressed, 
with a broad velvet ribbon and silver buckle placed upon his hat expressly for 
the occasion. Lavinia was duly informed that this was the General's ' ' turn out ; " 
and after resting half an hour at Lindencrof t, he took her out to ride. He stopped 
a few moments at his mother's house, where she saw the apartments which his 
father had built expressly for him, and filled with the most gorgeous furniture— 
all corresponding to his own diminutive size. Then he took her to East Bridge- 
port, and undoubtedly took occasion to point out hi great detail all of the houses 
which he owned, for he depended much upon having his wealth make some 
impression upon her. They returned, and the General stayed to lunch. I asked 
Lavinia how she liked her ride; she replied: 

" It was very pleasant, but," she added, "it seems as if you and Tom Thumb 
owned about all of Bridgeport ! " 

The General took his leave and returned at five o'clock to dinner with his 
mother. Mrs. Stratton remained until seven o'clock. She expressed herself 
charmed with Lavinia Wan-en ; but not a suspicion passed her mind that little 
Charlie was endeavoring to give her this accomplished young lady as a daughter- 
in-law. The General had privately asked me to invite him to stay over night, 
44 For," said he, " if I get a chance, I intend to 'pop the question' before the Com- 
modore arrives." So I told his mother I thought the General had better stop 
with us over night, as the Commodore would be up in the late train, adding that 
it would be more pleasant for the little folks to be together. She assented, and 
the General was happy. 

After tea Lavinia and the General sat down to play backgammon. As nine 
o'clock approached, I remarked that it was about time to retire, but somebody 
would have to sit up until nearly eleven o'clock, in order to let in the Commo- 
dore. The General replied: 

11 1 will sit up with pleasure, if Miss Warren will remain also." 

Lavinia carelessly replied, that she was accustomed to late hours, and she 
would wait and see the Commodore. A little supper was placed upon the table 
for the Commodore, and the family retired. 

Now it happened that a couple of mischievous young ladies were visiting at my 
house, one of whom was to sleep with Lavinia, They were suspicious that the 
General was going to propose to Lavinia that evening, and, in a spirit of ungov 
ernable curiosity, they determined, notwithstanding its manifest impropriety, to 
witness the operation, if they could possibly manage to do so on the sly. Of 
course this was inexcusable, the more so as so few of my readers, had they been 
placed under the same temptation, would have been guilty of such an impro- 
priety ! Perhaps I should hesitate to use the testimony of such witnesses, or even 
to trust it. But a few weeks after, they told the little couple the whole story, 
were forgiven, and all had a hearty laugh over it. 

It so happened that the door of the sitting-room, in which the General and 
Lavinia were left at the backgammon board, opened into the hall just at the side 
of the stairs, and these young misses, turning out the lights in the hall, seated 
themselves upon the stairs in the dark, where they had a full view of the cosy 
little couple, and were within easy ear-shot of all that was said. 

The house was still The General soon acknowledged himself vanquished at 
backgammon, and gave it up. After sitting a few moments, he evidently 
thought it was best to put a clincher on the financial part of his abilities; so he 
drew from his pocket a policy of insurance, and handing it to Lavinia, he asked 
her if she knew what it was. 


Examining it, she replied, "It is an insurance policy. 1 see you keep youi 
property insured." 

"But the beauty of it is, it is not my property," replied the General, "and yet 
[ get the benefit of the insurance in case of fire. You will see," he continued, 
unfolding the policy, "this is the property of Mr. Williams, but here, you will 
observe, it reads 'loss, if any, payable to Charles S. Stratton, as his interest may 
appear.' The fact is, I loaned Mr. Williams three thousand dollars, took a mort- 
gage on his house, and made him insure it for my benefit. In this way, you 
perceive. I get my interest, and he has to pay the taxes." 

" That is a very wise way, I should think," remarked Lavinia, 

"That is the way I do all my business," replied the General, complacently, as 
he returned the huge insurance policy to his pocket. "You see," he continued, 
' I never lend any of my money without taking bond and mortgage security, 
then I have no trouble with taxes; my principal is secure, and I receive my 
interest regularly." 

The explanation seemed satisfactory to Lavinia, and the General's courage 
began to rise. Drawing his chair a little nearer to hers, he said: 

" So you are g^ing to Europe, soon I" 

"Yes," replied Lavinia, "Mr. Barnum intends to take me over in a couple of 

"You will find it very pleasant," remarked the General; "I have been there 
twice, in fact I have spent six years abroad, and I like the old countries very 

"I hope I shall like the trip, ana 1 expect I shall," responded Lavinia; "for 
Mr. Barnum says I shall visit all the principal cities, and he has no' doubt I will 
be invited to appear before the Queen of England, the Emperor and Empress of 
France, the King of Prussia, the Emperor of Austria, and at the courts of any 
other countries which we may visit. Oh I I shall like that, it will be so new to 

"Yes, it will be very interesting indeed. I have visited most of the crowned 
heads," remarked the General, with an evident feeling of self -congratulation. 
" But are you not afraid you will be lonesome in a strange country ?" asked the 

"No, I think there is no danger of that, for friends will accompany me," was 
the reply. 

"I wish I was going over, for I know all about the different countries, and 
could explain them all to you," remarked Tom Thumb. 

" That would be very nice," said Lavima. 

" Do you think so ?" said the General, moving his chair still closer to Lavinia' s. 

" Of course," replied Lavinia, coolly, " for I, being a stranger to all the habits 
and customs of the people, as well as to the country, it would be pleasant to have 
some person along who could answer all my foolish questions." 

" I should like it first rate, if Mr. Barnum would engage me," said the General. 

"I thought you remarked the other day that you had money enough, and was 
tired of traveling," said Lavinia, with a slightly mischievous look from one 
corner of her eye. 

"That depends upon my company while traveling," replied the General 

" You might not find my company very agreeable." 

" I would be glad to risk it." 

"Well, perhaps Mr. Barnum would engage you, if you asked him," saiil 


"Would you really like to have me go ?" asked the General, quietly insinuat- 
ing his arm around her waist, but hardly close enough to touch her. 

" Of course I would," was the reply. 

The little General's arm clasped the waist closer as he turned his face nearer to 
hei*s, and said: 

" Don't you think it would be pleasanter if we went as man and wife ?" 

The little f airy quickly disengaged his arm, and remarked that the General was 
a funny fellow to joke in that way. 

" I am not joking at all," said the General, earnestly, "it is quite too serious a 
matter for that." 

"I wonder why the Commodore don't come?" said Lavinia. 

" I hope you are not anxious for his arrival, for I am sure I am not," responded 
the General "and what is more, I do hope you will say 'yes,' before he comes at 

"Really, Mr. Stratton," said Lavinia, with dignity, "if you are in earnest in 
your strange proposal, I must say I am surprised." 

"Well, I hope you are not offended," replied the General, "for I was never 
more in earnest in my life, and I hope you will consent. The first moment I saw 
you 1 felt that you were created to be my wife." 

" But this is so sudden." 

" Not so very sudden; it is several months since we first met, and you know all 
about me and my family, and I hope you find nothing to object to in me." 

" Not at all; on the contrary, I have found you very agreeable, in fact I like 
you verj^ much as a Mend, but I have not thought of marrying, and — " 

1 ' And what, my dear 2" said the General, giving her a kiss. ' ' Now, I beg of you, 
don't have any ' buts ' or ' ands ' about it. You say you like me as a friend, why 
will you not like me as a husband ? You ought to get married ; I love you dearly, 
and I want you for a wife. Now, deary, the Commodore will be here in a few 
minutes, I may not have a chance to see you again alone; do say that we will be 
married, and I will get Mr. Barnum to give up your engagement." 

Lavinia hesitated, and finally said: 

"I think I love you well enough to consent, but I have always said 1 would 
never marry without my mother's consent." 

" Oh ! I'll ask your mother. May I ask your mother ? Come, say yes to that, 
and I will go and see her next week. May I do that, pet ? " 

Then there was a sound of something very much like the popping of several 
corks from as many beer-bottles. The young eavesdroppers had no doubt as to 
the character of these reports, nor did they doubt that they sealed the betrothal, 
for immediately after they heard Lavinia say: 

" Yes, Charles, you may ask my mother." Another volley of reports followed, 
and then Lavinia said, "Now, Charles, don't whisper this to a living soul; let us 
keep our own secrets for the present." 

" All right," said the General, " I will say nothing; but next Tuesday I shall 
start to see your mother." 

" Perhaps you may find it difficult to obtain her consent," said Lavinia, 

At that moment a carriage drove up to the door, and immediately the bell was 
rung, and the little Commodore entered. 

" You here, General ?" said the Commodore, as he espied his rival 

"Yes," said Lavinia, " Mr. Barnum asked him to stay, and we were waiting 
for you; come, warm yourself." 

"lam not cold," said the Commodore; " where is Mr. Barnum ?" 


"He has gone to bed," remarked the General, "but a nice supper has been 
prepared for you." 

"I am not hungry, I thank you; I am going to bed. Which room does Mr. 
Barnum sleep in ?" said the little bantam, in a petulant tone of voice. 

His question was answered; the young eavesdroppers scampered to their 
sleeping apartments, and the Commodore soon came to my room, where he found 
me indulging in the foolish habit of reading in bed. 

"Mr. Barnum, does Tom Thumb board here?" asked the Commodore, 

"No," said L, "Tom Thumb does not board here. 1 invited him to stop over 
night, so don't be foolish, but go to bed." 

" Oh, it's no affair of mine. I don't care anything about it; but I thought he 
had taken up his board here," replied the Commodore, and off he went to bed, 
evidently in a bad humor. 

Ten minutes afterwards Tom Thumb came rushing into my room, and, closing 
the door, he caught hold of my hand in high state of excitement and whispered: 

" We are engaged, Mr. Barnum ! we are engaged ! we are engaged I" and he 
jumped up and down in the greatest glee. 

' ' Is that possible ? " I asked. 

"Yes, sir, indeed it is; but you must not mention it," he responded: "we agreed 
to tell nobody, so please don't say a word. I must tell you, of course, but ' mum 
is the word.' I am going, Tuesday, to get her mother's consent." 

I promised secrecy, and the General retired in as happy a mood as I ever saw 
him. Lavinia also retired, but not a hint did she give to the young lady with 
whom she slept regarding the engagement. Indeed, our family plied her upon 
the subject the next day, but not a breath passed her lips that would give the 
slightest indication of what had transpired. She was quite sociable with the 
Commodore, and as the General concluded to go home the next morning, the 
Commodore's equanimity and good feelings were fully restored. The General 
made a call of half an hour Sunday evening, and managed to have an interview 
with Lavinia. The next morning she and the Commodore returned to New York 
in good spirits, I remaining in Bridgeport. 

The General called on me Monday, however, bringing a very nice letter which 
he had written to Lavinia's mother. He had concluded to send this letter by bis 
trusty friend, Mr. George A. Wells, instead of going himself, and he had just 
seen Mr. Wells, who had consented to go to Middleborough with the letter the 
following day, and to urge the General's suit, if it should be necessary. 

The General went to New York on Wednesday, and was there to await Mr. 
Wells' arrival. On Wednesday morning the General and Lavinia walked into 
my office, and after closing the door, the little General said : 

" Mr. Barnum, I want somebody to tell the Commodore that Lavinia and I are 
engaged, for I am afraid there will be a ' row ' when he hears of it." 

"Do it yourself, General" I replied. 

"Oh," said the General, almost shuddering, "I would not dare to do it, he 
might knock me down." 

" I will do it," said Lavinia; and it was at once arranged that I should call the 
Commodore and Lavinia into my office, and either she or myself would tell him. 
The General of course, "vamosed." 

When the Commodore joined us, and the door was closed, I said: 

" Commodore, do you know what this little witch has been doing ?" 

"No, I don't," he answered. 


"Well, she has been cutting up one of the greatest pranks you ever heard of," 
I replied. " She almost deserves to be shut up, for daring to do it. Can't you 
guess what she has done?" 

He mused a moment, and then looking at me, said in a low voice, and with a 
serious-looking face, "Engaged?" 

"Yes," said I, " absolutely engaged to be married to General Tom Thumb. 
Did you ever hear of such a thing? " 

" Is that so, Lavinia?" asked the Commodore, looking her earnestly in the face. 

"That is so," said Lavinia; "and Mr. Wells has gone to obtain my mother's 

The Commodore turned pale, and choked a little, as if he was trying to swallow 
something. Then, turning on his heel, he said, in a broken voice : 

" I hope you may be happy." 

As he passed out the door, a tear rolled down his cheek. 

"That is pretty hard," I said to Lavinia. 

"I am very sorry," she replied, " but I could not help it. That diamond and 
emerald ring which you bade me present in my name, has caused all this trouble. " 

Half an hour after this incident, the Commodore came to my office, and said: 

"Mr. Barnum, do you think it would be right for Miss Warren to marry 
Charley Stratton if her mother should object?" 

I saw that the little fellow had still a slight hope to hang on, and I said: 

" No, indeed, it would not be right." 

"Well, she says she shall marry him any way; that she gives her mother the 
chance to consent, but if she objects, she will have her own way and marry him," 
said the Commodore. 

"On the contrary," I replied, "I will not permit it. She is engaged to go to 
Europe for me, and I will not release her, if her mother does not fully consent to 
her marrying Tom Thumb." 

The Commodore's eyes glistened with pleasure, as he replied: 

" Between you and me, Mr. Barnum, I don't believe she will give her consent." 

But the next day dissipated his hopes. Mr. Wells returned, saying that Lavi- 
nia's mother at first objected, for she feared it was a contrivance to get them 
married for the promotion of some pecuniary advantage; but, upon reading the 
letter from the General, and one still more urgent from Lavinia, and also upon 
hearing from Mr. Wells that, in case of their marriage, 1 should cancel all 
claims I had upon Lavinia's services, she consented. 

After the Commodore had heard the news, I said to him: 

" Never mind, Commodore, Minnie Warren is a better match for you; she is a 
charming little creature, and two years younger than you, while Lavinia is 
several years your senior." 

"I thank you, sir," replied the Commodore, pompously, "I would not marry 
the best woman living; I don't believe in women, any way." 

I then suggested that he should stand with little Minnie, as groom and brides- 
maid, at the approaching wedding. 

"No, sir!" replied the Commodore, emphatically; "I won't do it! " 

That idea was therefore abandoned. A few weeks subsequently, when time 
had reconciled the Commodore, he told me that Tom Thumb had asked him to 
stand as groom with Minnie, at the wedding, and he was going to do so. 

"When I asked you a few weeks ago, you refused," I said. 

" It was not your business to ask me," replied the Commodore, pompously. 
"When the proper person invited me I accepted." 

THE i \1KV 


The approaching wedding was announced. It created an iinin< me excitement. 
Lavinia's levees at the Museum were crowded to suffocation, and her photographic 
pictures were iu great demand. For several weeks she sold more than three 
hundred dollars' worth of her cartes de visile each day. And the daily peeeiptB 
at the Museum were frequently over three thousand dollars. I engaged the 
General to exhibit, and to assist her in the sale of pictures, to which his own 
photograph, of course, was added. I could afford to give them a fine wedding, 
and 1 did so. 

I did not hesitate to seek continued advantage from the notoriety of the pros- 
pective marriage. Accordingly, I offered the General and Lavinia fifteen 
thousand dollars if they would postpone the wedding for a month, and continue 
their exhibitions at the Museum. 

•' Not for fifty thousand dollars," said the General, excitedly. 

" Good for you, Charley," said Lavinia, "only you ought to have said not for 
a hundred thousand, for I would not! " 

They both laughed heartily at what they considered my discomfiture, and 
such, looked at from a business point of view, it certainly was. The wedding day 
approached and the public excitement grew. For several days, I might say 
weeks, the approaching marriage of Tom Thumb was the New York "sensation." 
For proof of this I did not need what, however, was ample, the newspaper 
paragraphs. A surer index was iu the crowds that passed into the Museum, and 
the dollars that found their way into the ticket-office. 

It was suggested to me that a small fortune in itself could be easily made out 
of the excitement. "Let the ceremony take place in the Academy of Music, 
charge a big price for admission, and the citizens will come in crowds." I have 
no manner of doubt that in this way twenty-five thousand dollars could easily 
have been obtained. But I had no such thought. I had promised to give the 
couple a genteel and graceful wedding, and I kept my word. 

The day arrived, Tuesday, February 10, 1S63. The ceremony was to take place 
in Grace Church, New York. The Rev. Junius Willey, Rector of St. John's 
Church in Bridgeport, assisted by the late Rev. Dr. Taylor, of Grace Church, was 
to officiate. The organ was played by Morgan. I know not what better I could 
have done, had the wedding of a prince been in contemplation. The church 
was comfortably filled by a highly select audience of ladies and gentlemen, none 
being admitted except those having cards of invitation. Among them were 
governors of several of the States, to whom I had sent cards, and such of I 
as could not be present in person were represented by friends, to whom they had 
given their cards. Members of Congress were present, also generals of the army, 
and many other prominent public men. Numerous applications were made from 
wealthy and distinguished persons, for tickets to witness the ceremony, ai 
high as sixty dollars was offered for a single admission. But not a ticket was 
sold; and Tom Thumb and Lavinia Warren were pronounced "man and wife" 
before witnesses.* 

The following entirely authentic correspondence, the only suppression being the 
name of the person who wrote to Dr. Taylor, and to whom Dr. Taylor's reply is 
addressed, shows how a certain would-be "witness" was not a witness of the 
famous wedding. In other particulars the oorresp rodence speaks tor ; - 

* See Illustration, page 228. 


To the Rev. Dr. Tatlor, 

Sir: The object of my unwillingly addressing you this note is to enquire what right you 
had to exclude myself and other owners of pews in Grace Church from entering it yesterday, 
enforced, too, by a cordon of police for that purpose. If my pew is not my property, I wish 
to know it ; and if it is, I deny your right to prevent me from occupying it whenever the 
church is open, even at a marriage of mountebanks, which I would not take the trouble to 
cross the street to witness. 

Respectfully, your obedient servant, 

W*** S*** 

804 Broadway, New York, Feb. 16, 1863. 
Mr. W * * * S * * * , 

Dear Sir : I am sorry, my valued friend, that you should have written me the peppery 
letter that is now before me. If the matter of which you complain be so utterly insignificant 
and contemptible as " a marriage of mountebanks, which you would not take the trouble to 
cross the street to witness," it surprises me that you should have made such strenuous, but 
ill-directed efforts to secure a ticket of admission. And why, pei-mit me to ask, in the name 
of reason and philosophy, do you still suffer it to disturb you so sadly? It would, perhaps, 
be a sufficient answer to your letter, to say that your cause of complaiut exists only in your 
imagination. You have never been excluded from your pew. As rector, I am the only 
custodian of the church, and you will hardly venture to say that you have ever applied to 
me for permission to enter, and been refused. 

Here I might safely rest, and leave you to the comfort of your own reflections in the case. 
But as you, in common with many other worthy persons, would seem to have very crude 
notions as to your rights of " property " in pews, you will pardon me for saying that a pew 
in a church is property only in a peculiar and restricted sense. It is not property, as your 
house or your horse is property. It vests you with no fee in the soil ; you cannot use it in 
any way, and in every way, and at all times, as your pleasure or caprice may dictate ; you 
cannot put it to any common or unhallowed uses ; you cannot remove it, nor injure it, nor 
destroy it. In short, you hold by purchase, and may sell the right to the undisturbed posses- 
sion of that little space within the church edifice which you call your pew during the hours 
of divine service. But even that right must be exercised decorously, and with a decent 
regard for time and place, or else you may at any moment be ignominiously ejected from it. 

I regret to be obliged to add that, by the law of custom, you may, during those said hours 
of divine service (but at no other time) sleep in your pew ; you must, however, do so noise- 
lessly and never to the disturbance of your sleeping neighbors ; your property in your pew 
has this extent and nothing more. Now, if Mr. w * * * S*** were at any time to come 
to me and say, " Sir, I would that you should grant me the use of Grace Church for a solemn 
service (a marriage, a baptism, or a funeral, as the case may be), and as it is desirable that 
the feelings ol the parties should be protected as far as possible from the impertinent 
intrusion and disturbance of a crowd from the streets and lanes of the city, I beg that no 
one may be admitted within the doors of the church during the very few moments that we 
expect to be there, but our invited friends only,"— it would certainly, in such a case, be my 
pleasure to comply with your request, and to meet your wishes in every particular ; and I 
think that even Mr. W * * * S * * * will agree that all this would be entirely reasonable and 
proper. Then, tell me, how would such a case differ from the instance of which you 
complain? Two young persons, whose only crimes would seem to be that they are neither 
■so big, nor so stupid, nor so ill-mannered, nor so inordinately selfish as some other people, 
come to me and say, sir, we are about to be married, and we wish to throw around our 
marriage all the solemnities of religion. We are strangers in your city, and as there is no 
clergymen here standing in a pastoral relation to us, we have ventured to ask the favor of 
the bishop of New York to marry us, and he has kindly consented to do so ; may we then 
venture a little further and request the use of your church in which the bishop may perform 
the marriage service ? We assure you, sir, that we are no shams, no cheats, no mountebanks; 
we are neither monsters nor abortions ; it is true we are little, but we are as God made us, 
perfect in our littleness. Sir, we are simply man and woman of like passions and infirmities 
with you and other mortals. The arrangements for our marriage are controlled by no 
' showman," and we are sincerely desirous that everything should be ordered with a most 
scrupulous regard to decorum. We hope to invite our relations and intimate friends, together 
with such persons as may in other years have extended civilities to either of us ; but we 
pledge ourselves to you most sacredly that no invitation can be bought with money. Permit 
us to say further, that as we would most gladly escape from the insulting jeers, and ribald 
sneers and coarse ridicule of the unthinking multitude without, we pray you to allow us, at 
our own proper charges, so to guard the avenues of access from the street, as to prevent all 
unseemly tumult and disorder. 

I tell you, sir, that whenever, and from whomsoever, such an appeal is made to my Christian 
courtesy, although it should come from the very humblest of the earth, I would go calmly 
and cheerfully forward to meet their wishes, although as many W*** S * * * 's as would 
reach from here to Kamtschatka, clothed in furs and frowns, should rise up to oppose me. 

In conclusion, I will say, that if the marriage of Charles S. Stratton and Lavinia Warren 
is to be regarded as a pageant, then it was the most beautiful pageant it has ever been my 
privilege to witness. If, on the contrary, it is rather to be thought of as a solemn ceremony, 
then it was as touchingly solemn as a wedding can possibly be rendered. It is true the 
biehop was not present, but Mr. Stratton's own pastor, the Rev. Mr. Willey, of Bridgeport, 


Connecticut, read the service with admirable taste and irapressiveness, aud the bride was 
pven away by her mother's pastor and her own," next friend." a venerable congregational 
clergyman from Massachusetts. Surely, there never was a gathering Of *o many hundreds 
of our best people, when everybody appeared BO delighted with everything; surely it is no 
light thing to call forth so much innocent joy in so few moments of panning time ; surely it 
s no light tiring, thus to smooth the ronghneefl and sweeten the acerbities which mar our 
nappiness as we advance upon the wearing journey of life. Sir, it was most emphatically a 
hi^h triumph of "Christian civilization!" 

Respectfully submitted, by your obedient servant, 


Several thousand persons attended the reception of Mr. and Mrs. Tom Thumb 
the same day at the Metropolitan Hotel. Alter this they started on a wedding 
tour, taking Washington in their way. They visited President Lincoln at the 
White House. After a couple of weeks they returned, and, as they then sup- 
posed, retired to private life. 

Habit, however, is indeed second nature. The General and his wife had been 
accustomed to excitement, and after a few months' retirement they again longed 
for the peculiar pleasures of a public life, and the public were eager to welcome 
them once more. They resumed their public career, and have since traveled 
around the world, holding public exhibitions more than half the time, Commo- 
dore Nutt and Minnie Warren accompanying them. 

I met the little Commodore last summer, after his absence in Europe of three 
years, and said: 

II Are you not married yet, Commodore?" 
" No, sir; my fruit is plucked," he replied. 

"You don't mean to say you will never marry," I remarked. 

"No, not exactly," replied the Commodore, complacently, "but I have 
concluded not to marry until I am thirty." 

" I suppose you intend to marry one of your size?" I said. 

" I am not particular in that respect," but seeing my jocose mood, he continued, 
with a comical leer, " I think I should prefer marrying a good, green, country 
girl, to anybody else." 

This was said with a degree of nonchalance, which none can appreciate who do 
not know him. 

To make sure that a lack of memory has not misled me as to any of the facts 
in regard to the courtship and wedding of Tom Thumb and Lavinia Warren, I 
will here say that, after writing out the story, I read it to the parties personally 
interested, and they give me leave to say that, in all particulars, it is a correct 
statement of the affair, except that Lavinia remarked : 

" Well, Mr. Barnum, your story don't lose any by the telling;" and the Com- 
modore denies the " rolling tear," when informed of the engagement of the little 

In June, 1869, the report was started, for the third or fourth time in the 
newspapers, that Commodore Nutt and Miss Minnie Warren were married, this 
time at West Haven, in Connecticut. The story was wholly untrue, nor do I 
think that such a wedding is likely to take place, for, on the principle that people 
like their opposites, Minnie and the Commodore are likely to marry persons whom 
they can literally "look up to," that is, if either of them marries at all it will be 
a tall partner. 

Soon after the wedding of General Tom Thumb and Lavinia Warren, a lady 
came to my office and called my attention to a little six-paged pamphlet which 
she said she had written, entitled "Priests and Pigmies," and roqueted me to 


read it. 1 glanced at the title, and at once estimating the character of the 
publication, I promptly declined to devote any portion of my valuable time to its 

" But you had better look at it, Mr. Barnum; it deeply interests you, and you 
may think it worth your while to buy it." 

" Certainly, I will buy it, if you desire," said I, tendering her a sixpence, which 
I supposed to be the price of the little pamphlet. 

"Oh! you quite misunderstand me; I mean buy the copyright and the entire 
edition, with the view of suppressing the work. It says some frightful things, 1 
assure you," urged the author. 

I lay back in my chair and fairly roared at this exceedingly feeble attempt at 

"But," persisted the lady, "suppose it says that your Museum and Grace 
Church are all one, what then?" 

" My dear madam," I replied, " you may say what you please about me or about 
my Museum; you may print a hundred thousand copies of a pamphlet stating that 
I stole the communion service, after the wedding, from Grace Church altar, or 
anything else you choose to write; only have the kindness to say something about 
me, and then come to me and I will properly estimate the money value of your 
services to me as an advertising agent. Good morning, madam,"— and «i->e 



I BEGAN my political life as a Democrat, and my newspaper, the Herald oj 
Freedom, was a Jackson-Democratic journal. While always taking an active 
interest in political matters, I had no desire for personal preferment, and, up to 
a late period, steadily declined to run for office. Nevertheless, in 1852 or 1853, 
prominent members of the party with which I voted, urged the submission of my 
uame to the State Convention, as a candidate for the office of Governor, and, 
although the party was then in the ascendancy, and a nomination would have 
been equivalent to an election, I peremptorily refused; in spite of this refusal, 
which was generally known, several votes were cast for me in the Convention. 
The Kansas strifes, in 1854, shook my faith in my party, though I continued 
to call myself a Democrat, often declaring that if I thought there was a drop of 
blood in me that was not democratic, I would let it out if I had to cut the jugular 
vein. When, however, secession threatened in 1860, I thought it was time for a 
"new departure," and I identified myself with the Republican party. 

During the active and exciting political campaign of 1860, which resulted in 
'Sir. Lincoln's fii-st election to the presidency, it will be remembered that "Wide- 
Awake " associations, with their uniforms, torches and processions, were organ- 
ized in nearly every city, town and village throughout the North. Arriving at 
Bridgeport from New York at five o'clock one afternoon, I was informed that 
the Wide- A wakes were to parade that evening and intended to march out to 
Lindencroft. So I ordered two boxes of sperm candles, and prepared for a gen- 
eral illumination of every window in the front of my house. Many of my 
neighbors, including several Democrats, came to Lindencroft in the evening to 
witness the illumination and see the Wide-Awake procession. My nearest neigh- 
bor, Mr. T., was a strong Democrat, and before he came to my house, he ordered 
his servants to stay in the basement, and not to show a light above ground, thus 
intending to prove his Democratic convictions and conclusions by the darkness of 
his premises; and so, while] Lindencroft was all ablaze with a flood of light, the 
next house was as black as a coal-hole. 

My neighbor, Mr. James D. Johnson, was also a Democrat, but I knew he would 
not spoil a good joke for the sake of politics, and I asked him to engage the atten- 
tion of Mr. and Mrs. T., and to keep their faces turned towards Bridgeport and 
the approaching procession, the light of whose torches could already be seen in 
the distance, while another Democratic friend, Mr. George A. Wells, and I, ran 
over and illuminated Mr. T.'s house. This we did with great success, completing 
our work five minutes before the procession arrived. As the Wide-A wakes tarnei 1 
into my grounds and saw that the house of Mr. T. was brilliantly illuminated, they 
concluded that he had become a sudden convert to Republicanism, and gave three 
rousing cheers for him. Hearing his name thus cheered and wondering at the 
cause, he happened to turn and see that his house was lighted up from basement 
to attic, and uttering a single profane ejaculation, he rushed for home. He was 
not able, however, to put out the lights till the Wide- A wakes had gone on their 
way rejoicing under the impression that one more Republican had been added to 
their ranks. 



When the rebellion broke out in 1801, 1 was too old to go to the field, but 1 sup- 
plied four substitutes, and contributed liberally from my means for the cause of 
the Union. After the defeat at Bull Run, July 21, 1861, " peace meetings " began 
to be held in different parts of the Northern States, and especially in Fairfield 
and Litchfield counties, in Connecticut. It was usual in these assemblages to 
display a white flag, bearing the word " Peace " above the National flag, and to 
make and listen to harrangues denunciatory of the war. One of these meetings 
was advertised to be held August 24th, at Stepney ten miles north of Bridgeport. 
On the morning of that day, I met Elias Howe, Jr.,* who proposed to me that 
we should drive up to Stepney, attend the peace meeting, and hear for ourselves 
whether the addresses were disloyal or not. We agreed to meet at the post-office, 
at twelve o'clock at noon, and I went home for my carnage. On the way I met 
several gentlemen to whom I communicated my intention, asking them to go also; 
and, as Mr. Howe invited several of his friends to accompany us, when we met 
at noon, at least twenty gentlemen were at the place of rendezvous with their 
carriages, ready to start for Stepney. I am quite confident that not one of us had 
any other intention in going to this meeting, than to quietly listen to the har- 
rangues, and if they were found to be in opposition to the government, and 
calculated to create disturbance or disaffection in the community, and deter 
enlistments, it would be best to represent the matter to the government at Wash- 
ington, and ask that measures might be taken to suppress such gatherings. 

As we turned into Main street, we discovered two large omnibuses filled with 
soldiers, who were at home on furlough, and who were going to Stepney. Our 
lighter carriages outran them, and so arrived at Stepney in time to see the white 
peace flag run up over the stars and stripes, when we quietly stood in the crowd 
while the meeting was organized. It was a very large gathering, and some fifty 
ladies were on the seats in front of the platform, on which were the officers and 
speakers of the meeting. A "preacher" — Mr. Charles Smith — was invited to 
open the proceedings with prayer, and " The Military and Civil History of Con- 
necticut, during the War of 1861-65," by W. A Croffut and John M. Morris, thus 
continues the record of this extraordinary gathering: 

"He (Smith) had not, however, progressed far in his supplication, when he 
slightly opened his eyes, and beheld, to bis horror, the Bridgeport omnibuses 
coming over the hill, garnished with Union banners, and vocal with loyal cheers. 
This was the signal for a panic; Bull Rim, on a small scale was re-enacted. The 
devout Smith, and the undelivered orators, it is alleged, took refuge in a field of 
corn. The procession drove straight to the pole unresisted, the hostile crowd 
parting to let them pass; and a tall man — John Piatt — amid some mutterings, 
climbed the pole, reached the halliards, and the mongrel banners were on the 
ground. Some of the peace-men, rallying, drew weapons on ' the invaders,' and 
a musket and a revolver were taken from them by soldiers at the very instant of 
firing. Another of the defenders fired a revolver, and was chased into the fields. 
Still others, waxing belligerent, were disarmed, and a number of loaded muskets 
found stored in an adjacent shed were seized. The stars and stripes were hoisted 
upon the pole, and wildly cheered. P. T. Barnum was then taken on the shoulders 
of the boys in blue, and put on the platform, where he made a speech full of 
patriotism, spiced with the humor of the occasion. Captain James E. Dunham 
also said a few words to the point. * * * * ' The Star Spangled Banner ' was 
then sung in chorus, and a series of resolutions passed, declaring that ' loyal men 

* The inventor nf »ewing machine needle. 


are the rightful custodians of the peace of Connecticut.' Elias Howe, Jr.. 
chairman, made his speech, when the crowd threatened to shoot the speakers. 
4 If they fire a gun, boys, burn the whole town, and I'll pay for it I ' After giving 
the citizens wholesome advice concerning the substituted flag, and their duty to 
the government, the procession returned to Bridgeport, with the white flag trail- 
ing in the mud behind an omnibus. * * * * They were received at Bridgeport 
by approving crowds, and were greeted with continuous cheers as they passed 

On our way back to Bridgeport, the soldiers threatened a descent upon the 
Farmer office, but I strongly appealed to them to refrain from such a riotous 
proceeding, telling them that as law-abiding citizens they should refrain from acts 
of violence, and especially should make no appeal to the passions of a mob. So 
confident was I that the day's proceedings had ended with the reception of the 
soldiers on their return from Stepney, that, in telegraphing a full account of the 
facts to the New York papers, I added that there was no danger of an attack 
upon the Farmer office, since leading loyal citizens were opposed to such action 
as unnecessary and unwise. But the enthusiasm with which the soldiers had been 
received, and the excitement of the day, prompted them to break through their 
resolutions, and. half an hour after my telegram had been sent to New York, 
they rushed into the Farmer office, tumbled the type into the street, and broke 
the presses. I did not approve of this summary suppression of the paper, and 
offered the proprietors a handsome subscription to assist in enabling them to 
renew the publication of the Farmer. 

After the draft riots in New York and in other cities, in July, 1863, myself and 
other members of the "Prudential Committee" which had been formed in 
Bridgeport were frequently threatened with personal violence, and rumors were 
especially rife that Lindencroft would some night be mobbed and destroyed. On 
several occasions, soldiers volunteered as a guard and came and stayed at my 
house, sometimes for several nights in succession, and I was also provided with 
rockets, so that in case of an attempted attack I could signal to my friends in the 
city, and especially to the night watchman at the arsenal, who would see my 
rockets at Lindencroft and give the alarm. Happily these signals were never 
needed, but the rockets came in play, long afterwards, in another way. 

My house was provided with a magnetic burglar-alarm and one night the faith- 
ful bell sounded. I was instantly on my feet and summoning my servants, one 
ran and rung the large bell on the lawn which served in the day-time to call my 
coachman from the stable, another turned on the gas, while I fired a gun out of 
the window, and I then went to the top of the house and set off several rockets. 
The whole region round about was instantly aroused ; dogs barked, neighbors half- 
dressed, but armed, flocked over to my grounds, every time a rocket went up, 
and I was by no means sparing of my supply; the whole place was as light as 
day, and in the general glare and confusion we caught sight of two retreating 
burglars, one running one way, the other another way, and both as fast as their 
legs could carry them ; nor do I believe that the panic-stricken would-be plun- 
derers stopped running till they reached New York* 

In the spring of 18G5, I accepted from the Republican party a nomination 
to the Connecticut legislature from the town of Fairfield, and 1 did this because 
I felt that it would be an honor to be permitted to vote for the then proposed 
amendment to the Constitution of the United States, to abolish slavery for 
from the land. 

* See Illustration, page 240. 


I was elected, and, on arriving at Hartford the night before the session began, 1 
found the wire-pullers at work laying their plans for the election of a Speaker of 
the House. Watching the movements closely, I saw that the railroad interests 
had combined in support of one of the candidates, and this naturally excited my 
suspicion. I never believed in making State legislation a mere power to support 
monopolies. I do not need to declare my full appreciation of the great blessings 
which railroad interests and enterprises have brought upon this country and the 
world. But the vaster the enterprise and its power for good, the greater its 
opportunity for mischief if its power is perverted. The time was when a whole 
community was tied to the track of one or two railway companies, and it was 
too truthful to be looked upon as satire to call New Jersey the " State of Camden 
and Amboy." A great railroad company, like fire, is a good servant, but a 
bad master; and when it is considered that such a company, with its vast num- 
ber of men dependent upon it for their daily bread, can sometimes elect State 
officers and legislatures, the danger to our free institutions from such a force may 
well be feared. 

T hinkin g of these things, and seeing in the combination of railroad interests to 
elect a speaker no promise of good to the community at large, I at once con- 
sulted with a few friends in the legislature, and we resolved to defeat the railroad 
"ring," if possible, in caucus, i ^^^ u»,uv s»e«u either of the candidates for 
the speakership, nor had I a single selfish end in view to gratify by the election 
of one candidate or the other; but I felt that if the railroad favorite could be 
defeated, the public interest would be subserved. We succeeded; their candi- 
date was not nominated, and the railroad men were taken by surprise. They 
had had their own way hi every legislature since the first railroad was laid down 
in Connecticut, and to be beaten now fairly startled them. 

Immediately after the caucus, I sought the successful nominee, Hon. E. K. 
Foster, of New Haven, and begged him not to appoint, as chairman of the rail- 
road committee, the man who had held that office for several successive years, 
and who was, in fact, the great railroad factotum in the State. He complied 
with my request, and he soon found how important it was to check the strong 
and growing monopoly; for, as he said, the "outside pressure" from personal 
friends in both political parties, to secure the appointments of the person to whom 
I had objected, was terrible. 

Though I had not foreseen nor thought of such a thing until I reached Hart- 
ford, I soon found that a battle with the railroad commissioners would be neces- 
sary, and my course was shaped accordingly. It was soon discovered that a 
majority of the railroad commissioners were mere tools in the hands of the 
railroad companies, and that one of them was actually a hired clerk in the office 
of the New York and New Haven Railroad Company. It was also shown that the 
chairman of the railroad commissioners permitted most of the accidents whicb 
occurred on that road to be taken charge of and reported upon by the paid lobby 
agent of that railroad. This was so manifestly destructive to the interests of all 
parties who might suffer from accidents on the road, or have any controversy 
therefor with the company, that I succeeded in enlisting the f armers and other 
true men on the side of right; and we defeated the chairman of the railroad 
commissioners, who was a candidate for re-election, and elected our own candi- 
date in his place. I also carried through a law that no person who was in the 
employ of any railroad in the State, should serve as railroad commissioner. 

But the great struggle which lasted nearly through the entire session, was upon 
the subject of railroad passenger commutations. Commodore Vande*t>ilt had 


secured control of the Hudson River and Harlem railroads, and had increased 
the price of commuters' tickets from two hundred to four hundred per <■< nt. 
Many men living on the line of these roads, at distances of from ten to fifty 
miles from New York, had built fine residences in the country, on the strength of 
cheap transit to and from the city, and were compelled to submit to the extortic >n. 
Commodore Vanderbilt was a large shareholder in the New York and New Hav.n 
road; indeed, subsequent elections showed that he had a controlling int<r»st. and 
it seemed evident to me that the same practice would be put in operation on the 
New Haven railroad, that commuters were groaning under on the two other 
roads. I enlisted as many as I could in an effort to strangle this outrage 
before it became too strong to grapple with. Several lawyers in the Assembly 
had promised me their aid, but, long before the final struggle came, every lawyer 
except one, in that body, was enlisted in favor of the railroads ! What potent 
influence had been at work with these legal gentlemen, could only be surmised. 
Certain it is, that all the railroad interests in the State were combined ; and while 
they had plenty of money with which to carry out their designs and desires, the 
chances looked slim in favor of those members of the legislature who had no 
pecuniary interest in the matter, but were struggling simply for justice and the 
protection of the people. But "Yankee stick-to-it-iveness " was always a noted 
feature in my character. Every inch of the ground was fought over, day after 
day, before the legislative railroad committee. Examinations and cross-exam- 
inations of railroad commissioners and lobbyists were kept up. Scarely more 
than one man, Senator Ballard, of Darien, aided me personally in the investiga- 
tions which took place. But he was a host in himself, and left not a stone 
unturned; we succeeded by persistence, in letting in considerable light upon a 
dark subject. The man whom I had prevented from being made chairman, suc- 
ceeded in becoming a member of the railroad committee ; but, from the mouths of 
unwilling witnesses, I exhibited his connection with railroad reports, railroad 
laws, and railroad lobbyings, in such a light that he took to his bed some ten days 
before the end of the session, and actually remained there " sick," as he said, till 
the legislature adjourned 

The speaker offered me the chairmanship of any one of several committees, 
and I selected that of the agricultural committee, because it would occupy but 
little of my time, and give me the opportunity I so much desired to devote my 
attention to the railway combinations. The Republicans had a majority in both 
branches of the legislature; the Democrats, however, were watchful and ener- 
getic. The amendment to the United States Constitution, abolishing slavery, 
met with but little open opposition ; but the proposed amendment to the State 
Constitution, striking out the word " white" from that clause which defined the 
qualifications of voters, was violently opposed by the Democratic members. The 
report from the minority of the committee to whom the question was referred, 
gave certain reasons for opposing the contemplated amendment, and in reply b > 
this, I spoke, May 2Cth, 1885, as follows: 



Mr. Speaker: I will not attempt to notice at any length the declamation of 
the honorable gentleman from Milford, for certainly I have heard nothing Cram 
his lips approaching to the dignity of argument. I agree with the gentleman 


that the right of suffrage is "dearly and sacredly cherished by the white man;" 
and it is because this right is so dear and sacred, that I wish to see it extended to 
every educated moral man within our State, without regard to color. He tells 
us that one race is a vessel to honor, and another to dishonor; and that he has 
seen on ancient Egyptian monuments the negro represented as " a hewer of wood 
and a drawer or water." This is doubtless true, and the gentleman seems deter 
mined always to keep the negro a " vessel of dishonor," and a " hewer of wood." 
We, on the other hand, propose to give him the opportunity of expanding his 
faculties and elevating himself to time manhood. He says he " hates and abhors, 
and despises demagogism. " I am rejoiced to hear it, and I trust we shall see 
tangible evidence of the truth of what he professes in his abandonment of that 
slavery to party which is the mere trick and trap of the demagogue. 

When, a few days since, this honorable body voted unanimously for the 
Amendment of the United States Constitution abolishing human slavery, I not 
only thanked God from my heart of hearts, but I felt like going down on my 
knees to the gentlemen of the opposition, for the wisdom they had exhibited 
in bowing to the logic of events by dropping that dead weight of slavery 
which had disrupted the Democratic party, with which I had been so long 
connected. And on this occasion I wish again to appeal to the wisdom and loy- 
alty of my Democratic Mends. I say Democratic " friends," for I am and ever 
was, a thorough, out and out Democrat. I supported General Jackson, and 
voted for every Democratic president after him, up to and including Pierce; for 
I really thought Pierce was a Democrat until he proved the contrary, as I con- 
ceived, in the Kansas question. My democracy goes for the greatest good to the 
greatest number, for equal and exact justice to all men, and for a submission to 
the will of the majority. It was the repudiation by the southern democracy of 
this great democratic doctrine of majority rule which opened the rebellion. 

And now, Mr. Speaker, let me remind our democratic friends that the present 
question simply asks that a majority of the legal voters, the white citizens of this 
State, may decide whether or not colored men of good moral character, who are 
able to read, and who possess all the qualifications of white voters, shall be 
entitled to the elective franchise. The opposition may have their own ideas, or 
may be in doubt upon this subject; but surely no true democrat will dare to 
refuse permission to our fellow-citizens to decide the question. 

Negro slavery, and its legitimate outgrowths of ignorance, tyranny and oppres- 
sion, have caused this gigantic rebellion which has cost our country thousands of 
millions of treasure, and hundreds of thousands of human lives in defending a 
principle. And where was this poor, down-trodden colored race in this rebellion? 
Did they seize the "opportunity" when their masters were engaged with a pow- 
erful foe, to break out in insurrection, and massacre those tyrants who had so 
long held them in the most cimel bondage ? No, Mr. Speaker, they did not do this. 
My " democratic " friends would have done it. I would have done it, . Irishmen, 
Chinamen, Portuguese, would have done it; any white man would have done it; 
put the poor black man is like a lamb in his nature compared with the white 
man. The black man possesses a confiding disposition, thoroughly tinctured with 
religious enthusiasm, and not characterized by a spirit of revenge. No, the only 
barbarous massacres we heard of, during the war, were those committed by 
their white masters on their poor, defenceless white prisoners, and to the eternal 
disgrace of southern white "democratic" rebels, be it said, these instances of 
barbarism were numerous all through the war. When this rebellion first broke 
out. the northern democracy raised a hue-and-cry against permitting the negroes 


to fight; but when such a measure seemed necessary, in order to put down 
traitors, these colored men took their muskets in hand and made their bodies a 
wall of defence for the loyal citizens of the north. And now, when our grateful 
white citizens ask from this assembly the privilege of deciding by their votes 
whether these colored men, who, at least, were partially our saviors in the war, 
may or may not, under proper restrictions, become participants in that great 
salvation, I am amazed that men calling themselves democrats dare refuse to 
grant this democratic measure. We wish to educate ignorant men, white or 
black. Ignorance is incompatible with the genius of our free institutions. In 
the very nature of things it jeopardizes their stability, and it is always unsafe to 
transgress the laws of nature. We cannot safely shut ourselves up with ignorance 
and brutality; we must educate and christianize those who are now by circum- 
stances our social inferiors. 

Years ago, I was afraid of foreign voters. I feared that when Europe poured 
her teeming milli ons of working people upon our shores, our extended laws of 
franchise would enable them to swamp our free institutions, and reduce us to 
anarchy. But much reflection has satisfied me that we have only to elevate these 
millions and their descendants to the standard of American citizenship, and we 
shall find sufficient of the leaven of liberty in our system of government to 
absorb all foreign elements and assimilate them to a truly democratic form of 

Mr. Speaker: We cannot afford to cany passengers and have them five under 
our government with no real vital interest in its perpetuity. Every man must 
be a joint owner. 

The only safe inhabitants of a free country are educated citizens who vote. 

Nor in a free government can we afford to employ journeymen; they may be 
apprenticed until they learn to read, and study our institutions; and then let 
them become joint proprietors and feel a proportionate responsibility. The two 
learned and distinguished authors of the minority report have been studying the 
science of ethnology and have treated us with a dissertation on the races. And 
what have they attempted to show ? Why, that a race which, simply on account 
of the color of the skin, has long been buried in slavery at the South, and even 
at the North has been tabooed and scarcely permitted to rise above the dignity of 
whitewashers and boot-blacks, does not exhibit the same polish and refinement 
that the white citizens do who have enjoyed the advantages of civilization, edu- 
cation, Christian culture and self-respect which can only be attained by those 
who share in making the laws under which they live. 

Do our democratic friends assume that the negroes are not human ? I have 
heard professed democrats claim even that; but do the authors of this minority 
report insist that the negro is a beast ? Is his body not tenanted by an immortal 
spirit ? If this is the position of the gentlemen, then I confess a beast cannot 
reason, and this minority committee are right in declaring that "the negro can 
develop no inventive faculties or genius for the arts." For although the elephant 
may be taught to plow, or the dog to carry your market-basket by his teeth, you 
cannot teach them to shave notes, to speculate in gold, or even to vote; whereas, 
the experience of all political parties shows that men may be taught to vote, even 
when they do not know what the ticket means. 

But if the colored man is indeed a man, then his manhood with proper training 
can be developed. His soul maty appear dormant, his brain inactive, but there is a 
vitality there; and Nature will assert herself if you will give her the opportunity. 

Suppose an inhabitant of another planet should drop down upon this portion of 


our globe at mid-winter. He would find the earth covered with snow and ice 
and congealed almost to the consistency of granite. The trees are leafless, every- 
thing is cold and barren; no green thing is to be seen; the inhabitants are chilled, 
and stalk about shivering, from place to place; he would exclaim, " Surely this is 
not life; this means ann i hilation. No flesh and blood can long endure this; this 
frozen earth is bound in the everlasting embraces of adamantine frost, and can 
never develop vegetation for the sustenance of any living thing." He little 
dreams of the priceless myriads of germs which bountiful Nature has safely 
garnered in the warm bosom of our mother earth; he sees no evidence of that 
vitality which the beneficent sun will develop to grace and beautify the world. 
But let him remain until March or April, and as the snow begins to melt away, 
he discovers the beautiful crocus struggling through the half -frozen ground ; the 
snow-drops appear in all their chaste beauty ; the buds of the swamp-maple shoot 
forth; the beautiful magnolia opens her splendid blossoms; the sassafras adds its 
evidence of life; the pearl-white blossoms of the dog-wood light up every forest; 
and while our stranger is rubbing his eyes in astonishment, the earth is covered 
with her emerald velvet carpet; rich foliage and brilliant colored blossoms adorn 
the trees; fragrant flowers are en wreathing every wayside; the swift-winged 
birds float through the air and send forth joyful notes of gratitude from every 
tree-top; the merry lambs skip joyfully around their verdant pasture grounds; 
and everywhere is our stranger surrounded with life, beauty, joy and gladness. 

So it is with the poor African. You may take a dozen specimens of both sexes 
from the lowest type of man found in Africa: their race has been buried for ages 
in ignorance and barbarism, and you can scarcely perceive that they have any 
more of manhood or womanhood than so many orang-outangs or gorillas. You 
look at their low foreheads, their thick skulls and lips, their woolly heads, their 
flat noses, their dull, lazy eyes, and you may be tempted to adopt the language 
of this minority committee, and exclaim: Surely these people have "no inven- 
tive faculties, no genius for the arts, or for any of those occupations requiring 
intellect and wisdom." But bring them out into the light of civilization; lea- 
thern and their children come into the genial sunshine of Christianity; teach them 
industry, self-reliance, and self -irespect ; let them learn what too few white Chris- 
tians have yet understood, that cleanliness is akin to godliness, and a part of 
godliness; and the human soul will begin to develop itself. Each generation, 
blessed with churches and common schools, will gradually exhibit the result of 
such culture; the low foreheads will be raised and widened by an active and 
expanded brain; the vacant eye of barbarism, ignorance and idleness will light 
up with the fire of intelligence, education, ambition, activity and Christian civili- 
zation; and you will find the immortal soul asserting her dignity, by the 
development of a man who would startle, by his intelligence, the honorable gen 
tleman from Wallingford, who has presumed to compare beings made in God's 
image with "oxen and asses." That honorable gentleman, if he is rightly 
reported in the papers (I did not have the happiness to hear his speech), has mis- 
taken the nature of the colored man. The honorable gentleman reminds me of 
the young man who went abroad, and when he returned, there was nothing in 
America that could compare with what he had seen in foreign lands. Niagara 
Falls was nowhere; the White Mountains were "knocked higher than a kite" 
by Mont Blanc; our rivers were so large that they were vulgar, when contrasted 
with the beautiful little streams and rivulets of Europe ; our New York Central 
Park was eclipsed by the Bois de Bologne and the Champs Elysees of Paris, or 
Hyde or Regent Park of London, to say nothing of the great Phoenix Park at 


"Iney have introduced a couple of Venetian gondolas on the large pond in 
Central Park," remarked a friend. 

"All very well," replied the verdant traveler, " but, between you and me, these 
birds can't stand our cold climate more than one season." The gentleman fin m 
Walliugford evidently had as little idea of the true nature of the African as the 
young swell had of the pleasure-boats of Venice. 

Mr. Johnson, of TVallingf ord : The gentleman misapprehends my remarks. 
The gentleman from Norwich had urged that the negro should vote because they 
have fought in our battles. I replied that oxen and asses can fight, and therefore 
should, on the same grounds, be entitled to vote. 

Mr. Barnum: I accept the gentleman's explanation. Doubtless General Grant 
will feel himself highly complimented when he learns that it requires no great* «■ 
capacity to handle the musket, and meet armed battalions in the field, tha n " oxen 
and asses " possess. 

Let the educated free negro feel that he is a man; let him be trained in N. m 
England churches, schools and workshops; let him support himself, pay his taxes, 
and cast Ins vote, like other men, and he will put to everlasting shame the cham- 
pions of modern democracy, by the overwhelming evidence he will give in his own 
person of the great Scripture truth, that " God has made of one blood all the 
nations of men." A human soul, "that God has created and Christ died for," is 
not to be trifled with. It may tenant the body of a Chinaman, a Turk, an Arab 
or a Hottentot — it is still an immortal spirit; and, amid all assumptions of caste, it 
will in due time vindicate the great fact that, without regard to color or condition, 
all men are equally children of the common Father. 

A few years since, an English lord and his family were riding in his carriage in 
Liverpool. It was an "elegant equipage; the servants were dressed in rich livery; 
the horses caparisoned in the most costly style; and everything betokened that 
the establishment belonged to a scion of England's proudest aristocracy. The 
carriage stopped in front of a palatial residence. At this moment a poor beggar 
woman rushed to the side of the carriage, and gently seizing the lady by the 
hand, exclaimed, " For the love of God give me something to save my poor sick 
children from starvation. You are rich ; I am your poor sister, for God is our 
common Father." 

"Wretch ! " exclaimed the proud lady, casting the woman's hand away ; " don't 
call me sister; I have nothing in common with such low brutes as you." And the 
great lady doubtless thought she was formed of finer clay than this suffering 
mendicant ; but when a few days afterwards she was brought to a sick bed by 
the small-pox, contracted by touching the hand of that poor wretch, she felt the 
evidence that they belonged to the same great family, and were subject to the 
same pains and diseases. 

The State of Connecticut, like New Jersey, is a border State of New York. 
New York has a great commercial city, where aldermen rob by the tens of thou- 
sands, and where principal is studied much more than principle. I can readily. 
understand how the negro has come to be debased at the North as well as at the 
South. The interests of the two sections in the product of negro labor were 
nearly identical. The North wanted Southern cotton and the South was ready 
in turn to buy from the North whatever was needed in the way of Northern 
supplies and manufactures. This community of commercial interesto led to an 
identity in political principles, especially in matters pertaining to the negro race — 
the working race of the South — which produced the cotton and consumed so much 
of what Northern merchants and manufacturers sold for plantation use. The 


Southern planters were good customers and were worth conciliating. So when 
Connecticut proposed in 1818 to continue to admit colored men to the franchise, 
the South protested against thus elevating the negroes, and Connecticut suc- 
cumbed. No other New England State has ever so disgraced herself; and now 
Connecticut democrats are asked to permit the white citizens of this State to 
express their opinion in regard to re-instating the colored man where our Ptevo- 
lutionary sires placed him under the Constitution. Now, gentlemen, ' ' democrats," 
as you call yourselves, you who speak so flippantly of your "loyalty," your 
"love for the Union "and your "love for the people ;" you who are generally 
talking right and voting wrong, we ask you to come forward and act " democrati- 
cally," by letting your masters, the people, speak. 

The word "white " in the Constitution cannot be strictly and literally construed. 
The opposition express great love for white blood. "Will they let a mulatto vote 
half the time, a quadroon three-fourths, and an octoroon seven-eighths of the 
time ? If not, why not ? Will they enslave seven-eighths of a white man because 
one-eighth is not Caucasian ? Is this democratic ? Shall not the majority seven 
control the minority one ? Out on such " democracy." 

But a Democratic minority committee (of two) seem to have done something 
besides study ethnology. They have also paid great attention to fine arts, and are 
particularly anxious that all voters shall have a " genius for the arts." I would 
like to ask them if it has always been political practice to insist that every voter 
in the great " unwashed " and " unterrified " of any party should become a mem- 
ber of the Academy of Arts before he votes the " regular" ticket ? I thought he 
was received into the full fellowship of a political party if he could exhibit suffi- 
cient "inventive faculties and genius for the arts," to enable him to paint a black 
eye. Can a man whose "genius for the arts "enables him to strike from the 
shoulder scientifically, be admitted to full fellowship in a political party ? Is it 
evident that the political artist has studied the old masters, if he exhibits his genius 
by tapping an opponent's head with a shillelagh? The oldest master in this 
school of art was Cain ; and so canes have been made to play their part in politics, 
at the polls and even in the United States Senate Chamber. 

"Is genius for the arts and those occupations requiring intellect and wisdom " 
sufficiently exemplified in adroitly stuffing ballot-boxes, forging soldiers' votes, 
and copying a directory, as has been done, as the return list of votes ? Is the 
" inventive faculty" of "voting early and often," a passport to political brother- 
hood? Is it satisfactory evidence of "artistic" genius, to head a mob? and a 
mob which is led and guided by political passion, as numerous instances in our 
history prove, is the worst of mobs. Is it evidence of "high art " to lynch a man 
by hauging him to the nearest tree or lamp-post ? Is a "whisky scrimmage" 
one of the lost arts restored ? We all know how certain "artists" are prone to 
embellish elections and to enhance the excitements of political campaigns by 
inciting riots, and the frequency with which these disgraceful outbreaks have 
occurred of late, especially in some of the populous cities, is cause for just alarm. 
It is dangerous "art." 

Mr. Speaker: I repeat that I am a friend to the Irishman. I have traveled 
through his native country and have seen how he is oppressed. I have listened to 
the eloquent and patriotic appeals of Daniel O'Connell, in Conciliation HalL in 
Dublin, and I have gladly contributed to his fund for ameliorating the condition 
of his countrymen. I rejoice to see them rushing to this land of liberty and inde- 
pendence; and it is because I am their friend that I denounce the demagogues 
who attempt to blind and mislead them to vote in the interests of any party 


against the interests of humanity, and the principles of true democracy. My 
neighbors will testify that at mid-winter I employ Irishmen by the hundred to 
do work that is not absolutely necessary, in order to help them rapport their 

After hearing the minority report last week, I began to fed that I might be 
disfranchised, for I have no great degree of ''genius for the arts;" I : 
fore, that I must get "posted" on that subject as soon as possible. I at once 
sauntered into the Senate Chamber to look at the paintings; there I saw portraits 
of great men, and I saw two empty frames from which the pictures had 
removed. These missing paintings, I was told, were portraits of two ex ■> 
emors of the State, whose position on political affairs was obnoxious to 
dominant party in the Legislature; and especially obnoxious were the supposed 
sentiments of these governors on the war. Therefore, the Senate voted to remove 
the pictures, and thus proved as it would seem, that there is an intimate connec- 
tion between pohtics and art. 

I have repeatedly traveled through every State in the South, and I assert, what 
every intelligent officer and soldier who has resided there will corroborate, that 
the slaves, as a body, are more intelligent than the poor whites. No man who has 
not been there can conceive to what a low depth of ignorance the poor snuff-tak- 
ing, clay-eating whites of some portion of the South have descended. I trust 
the day is not far distant when the " common school " shall throw its illuminating 
rays through this Egyptian pall. 

I have known slave mechanics to be sold for $3,000, and even $5,000 each, and 
others could not be bought at all; and I have seen intelligent slaves acting as 
stewards for their masters, traveling every year to New Orleans, Nashville, and 
even to Cincinnati, to dispose of their master's crops. The free colored citizens of 
Opelousas, St Maitinsville, and all the Attakapas country in Louisiana, are as 
respectable and intelligent as an ordinary community of whites. They speak the 
French and English languages, educate their children in music and "the arts," 
and they pay their taxes on more than fifteen millions of dollars. 

Gentlemen of the opposition, I beseech you to rememl>er that our State and our 
country ask from us something more than party tactics. It is absolutely necessary 
that the loyal blacks at the South should vote in order to save the loyal whites. 
Let Connecticut, without regard to party, set them an example that shall influence 
the action at the South, and prevent a new form of slavery from arising there, 
which shall make all our expenditure of blood and treasure fruitless. 

But some persons have this color prejudice simply by the force of education, 
cind they say, " Well, a nigger is a nigger, and he can't be anything else. I I 
niggers, anyhow." Twenty years ago I crossed the Atlantic, and among our 
passengers was an Irish judge, who was coming out to Newfoundland as chief 
justice. He was an exceedingly intelligent and polished gentleman, and extremely 
«itty. The passengers from the New England States and those from the South 
got into a discussion on the subject of slavery, which lasted three days. The 
Southerners were finally worsted, and when tip 

they fell back on the old story, by saying: "Oh ! curse a nigger, he ain't half 
human anyhow; he had no business to be a nigger, etc." One of the gentlemen 
then turned to the Irish judge, and asked his opinion of the merits of the contro- 
versy The judge replied: 

" Gentlemen, I have listened with much edification to your arguments pro and 
con during three days. I was quite inclined to think the anti-slavery gentlemen 
had justice and right on their side, but the last argument from the South has 


changed my mind. I say a ' nigger has no business to be a nigger,' and we should 
kick him out of society and trample him under foot — always provided, gentle- 
men, you prove he was born black au his own particular request. If he had no 
word to say in the matter of course he is blameless for his color, and is entitled 
to the same respect that other men are who properly behave themselves ! " 

Mr. Speaker: I am no politician; I came to this legislature simply because 1 
wish to have the honor of voting for the two constitutional amendments — one for 
driving slavery entirely out of our country ; the other to allow men of education 
and good moral character to vote, regardless of the color of then skins. To give 
my voice for these two philanthropic, just, and Christian measures is all the glory 
I ask legislative wise. I care nothing whatever for any sect or party under heaven, 
as such. I have no axes to grind, no logs to roll, no favors to ask. All I desire 
is to do what is right, and prevent what is wrong. I believe in no " expediency " 
that is not predicated of justice, for in all things — politics, as well as everything 
else — I know that "honesty is the best policy." A retributive Providence will 
unerringly and speedily search out all wrong-doing ; hence, right is always the best 
in the long run. Certainly, in the light of the great American spirit of liberty 
and equal rights which is sweeping over this country, and making the thrones of 
tyrants totter in the Old World, no party can afford to carry slavery, either of 
body or of mind. Knock off your manacles and let the man go free. Take down 
the blinds from his intellect, and let in the light of education and Christian cul- 
ture. When this is done you have developed a man. Give him the responsibility 
or a man and the self-respect of a man, by granting him the right of suffrage. 
Let universal education, and the universal franchise be the motto of free America, 
and the toiling millions of Europe, who are watching you with such intense 
interest, will hail us as then saviors. Let us loyally sink " party" on this ques- 
tion, and go for " God and our Country." Let no man attach an eternal stigma 
to his name by shutting his eyes to the great lesson of the hour, and voting against 
permitting the people to express then opinion on this important subject. Let us 
unanimously grant this truly democratic boon. Then, when our laws of fran- 
chise are settled on a just basis, let future parties divide where they honestly differ 
on State or national questions which do not trench upon the claims of manhood 
or American citizenship. 



0-V the thirteenth day of July, 1865, I was speaking in the Connecticut Legis- 
lature, in session at Hartford, against the railroad schemes, when a telegram was 
nanded to me from my son-in-law, S. H. Hurd, my assistant manager in Nevf 
York, stating that the American Museum was in flames, and that its total destruc- 
tion was certain. I glanced over the despatch, folded it, laid it on my desk, 
and calmly continued my speech as if nothing had happened. At the conclusion 
of my remarks, the bill I had been advocating was carried, and the House 
adjourned. I then handed the telegram, announcing my great loss in New York, 
to my friend and fellow-laborer, Mr. "William G. Coe, of Winsted, who immedi- 
ately communicated the intelligence to several members. Warm sympathizers 
at once crowded around me, and Mr. Henry B. Harrison, of New Haven, my 
strongest railroad opponent, pushing forward, seized me by the hand, and said: 

" Mr. Barnum, I am really very sorry to hear of your great misfortune." 

" Sorry," I replied, " why, my dear sir, I shall not have time to be ' sorry ' in a 
week 1 It will take me that length of time before I can get over laughing at 
having whipped you all so nicely in this attempted railroad imposition." 

The Speaker of the House and many of my fellow-members testified that 
neither my face nor my manner betrayed the slightest intimation, when I read 
the telegram, that I had received unpleasant intelligence. One of the local jour- 
nals, speaking of this incident, two days after the fire, said: 

In the midst of Mr Barnum's speech, a telegram was handed to him, announcing that 
his Museum was in flames, with no hope of saving any portion of his cherished establish- 
ment. * Without the slightest evidence of agitation, he laid the telegram upon his desk and 
finished his speech. When he went next day to New York he saw only a pile of black, 
smouldering ruins. 

Immediately after adjournment that afternoon, I took the cars for Bridgeport, 
spending the night quietly at home, and the following morning I went to New 
York to see the ruins of my Museum, and to learn the full extent of the disaster. 
When I arrived at the scene of the calamity and saw nothing but the smoulder- 
ing debris of what a few hours before was the American Museum, the sight was 
sad indeed. Here were destroyed, almost in a breath, the accumulated results of 
many years of incessant toil, my own and my predecessors, in gathering from 
every quarter of the globe myriads of curious productions of nature and art — an 
assemblage of rarities which a half million of dollars could not restore, and a 
quarter of a century could not collect. In addition to these there were many 
Revolutionary relics and other links in our national history wluch never could be 
duplicated. Not a thousand dollars worth of the entire property was saved ; the 
destruction was complete ; the loss was irreparable, and the total amount of insur- 
ance was but forty thousand dollars. 

The fire probably originated in the engine room, where steam v. as constantly 
kept up to pump fresh air into the water of the aquaria and to propel the immenM 
fans for cooling the : the halls. 

11 Ul 


All the New York newspapers made a great "sensation" of the fire, and thw 
full particulars were copied in journals throughout the country. A facetious 
reporter, Mr. Nathan D. Urner, of the Tribune, wrote the following amusing 
account, which appeared in that journal, July 14, 1865, and was very generally- 
quoted from and copied by provincial papers, many of whose readers accepted 
every line of the glowing narrative as " gospel truth: " 

Soon after the breaking out of the conflagration, a number of strange and terrible howls 
and moans proceeding from the large apartment in the third floor of the Museum, corner of 
Ann street and Broadway, startled the throngs who had collected in front of the burning 
building, and who were at first under the impression that the sounds must proceed from 
human beings unable to effect their escape. Their anxiety was somewhat re'ieved on this 
score, but their consternation was by no means decreased upon learning that the room in 
question was the principal chamber of the menagerie connected with the Museum, and 
that there was imminent danger of the release of the animals there confined, by the action 
of the flames. Our reporter fortunately occupied a room on the north corner ot Ann street 
and Broadway, the windows of which looked immediately into this apartment; and no 
sooner was he apprised of the fire than he repaired there, confident of finding items in 
abundance. Luckily the windows of the Museum were unclosed, and he had a perfect 
view of almost the entire interior of the apartment. The following is his statement of 
what followed, in his own language: 

" Protecting myself from the intense heat as well as I could, by taking the mattrass from 
the bed and erecting it as a bulwark before the window, with only enough space reserved 
on the top so as to look out, I anxiously observed the animals in the opposite room. Imme- 
diately opposite the window through which I gazed, was a lartre cage containing a lion and 
lioness. To the right hand was the three-storied cage, containing monkeys at the top, two 
kangaroos in the second story, and a happy family of cats, rats, adders, rabbits, etc., in the 
lower apartment. To the left of the lion's cage was the tank containing the two vast alli- 
gators, and still further to the left, partially hidden from my Bight, was the grand tank 
containing the great white whale, which has created such a furore in our sight-seeing midst 
for the past few weeks. Upon the floor were caged the boa-constrictor, anacondas and 
rattlesnakes, whose heads would now and then rise menacingly through the top of the 
cage. In the extreme right was the cage, entirely shut from my view at first, containing 
the Bengal tiger and the Polar bear, whose terrific growls could be distinctly heard from 
behind the partition. With a simultaneous bound the lion and his mate, sprang against the 
bars, which gave way and came down with a great crash, releasing the beasts, which for a 
moment, apparently amazed at their sudden liberty, stood in the middle of the floor lashing 
their sides with their tails and roaring dolefully. 

Almost at the same moment the upper part of the three-storied cage, consumed by the 
flames, fell forward, letting the rods drop to the floor, and many other animals were set 
free. Just at this time the door fell through and the flames and smoke rolled in like a 
whirlwind from the Hadean river Cocytus. A horrible scene in the right-hand corner oi 
the room, a yell of indescribable agony, and a crashing, grating sound, indicated that the 
tiger and Polar bear were stirred up to the highest pitch of excitement. Then there came 
a great crash, as of the giving way of the bars of their cage. The flames and smoke 
momentarily rolled back, and for a few seconds the interior of the room was visible in the 
lurid light of the flames, which revealed the tiger and the lion, locked together in close 

The monkeys were perched around the windows shivering with dread, and afraid to Jump 
out. The snakes were wiithing about, crippled and blistered by the heat, darting out 
their forked tongues, and expressing their rage and fear in the most sibilant of hisses. 
The "Happy Family" were experiencing an amount of beatitude which Avas evidently too 
cordial for philosophical enjoyment. A long tongue of flame had crept under the cage, 
completely singing every hair from the cat's body. The felicitous adder was slowly burn- 
ing in two and busily engaged in impregnating his organic system with his own venom. 
The joyful rat had lost his tail by a falling bar of iron ; and the beatific rabbit, perforated 
by a red-hot nail, looked as if nothing would be more grateful than a cool corner in some 
Esquimaux farm-yard. The members of the delectated convocation were all huddled 
together in the bottom of their cage, which suddenly gave way, precipitating them out of 
view in the depths below, which by this time were also blazing like the fabled Tophet. 

At this moment the flames rolled again into the room, and then again retired. The 
whale and alligators were by this time suffering dreadful torments. The water in which 
they swam was literally boiling. The alligators dashed fiercely about endeavoring to 
escape, and opening and shutting their great jaws in ferocious torture ; but the poor whale, 
almost boiled, with great ulcers bursting from his blubbery sides, could only feebly swim 
about, though blowing excessively, and every now and then sending up great fountains of 
spray. At length, crack went the glass sides of the great cases, and whale and alligators 
rolled out on the floor with the rushing and -teaming water. The whale died easily, having 
been pretty well used up before. A few great gasps and a convulsive flap or two of his mighty 
flukes were his expiring spasm. One of the alligators was killed almost immediately by 
falling across a great fragment of shattered glass, which cut open his stomach and let out 
(he greater part of his entrails to the light of day. Th° remaining alligator became 


involved in a controversy with an anaconda, and joined the melee in the center of the 
flaming apartment. 

A number of birds which were casced in the upper part of the building were set free by 
some charitably inclined person at the first alarm of lire, and at intervals they flew out. 
There were many valuable tropical birds, parrots, cockatoos, mockingbird*, humming- 
birds, etc.. as well as some vultures and eagles, and one condor. I aent existed 
among the swaying crowds in the streets beiow as they took wing. There were contined in 
the same room a few serpents, which also obtained their libertj ; anil soon after the rising 
and devouring flames began to enwrap the entire building, a Bplendid and emblematic Bight 
was presented to the wondering and npgazing throngs. Bursting through the central case- 
ment, with flap of wings and lashing coils, appeared an eagle and a serpent wreathed in tight. 
For a moment they hung poised in mid-air, presenting a novel and terrible conflict. It was 
the earth and air (or their respective representatives) at war for mastery: the base and the 
lofty, the groveiler and the soarer, were engaged in deadly battle. At length the Hat head 
ot the serpent sank; his writhing, sinuous form grew still; and wafted upward by the 
cheers of the gazing multitude, the eagle, with a scream of triumph, and bearing his prey 
in his iron talons, soared towards the sun. Several monkeys escaped from the burning 
building to the neighboring roofs and streets; and considerable excitement was caused by 
tin attempts to secure them. One of the most amusing incidents in this respect, was in 
connection with Mr. Jame< Gordon Bennett. The veteran editor of the Ihrald was sitting 
in his private office with his back to the open window, calmly discussing with a friend the 
chances that the Herahl establishment would escape the conflagration, which at that time 
was threateningly advancing up Ann street, towards Nassau street. In the course of his 
conversation, Mr. Bennett observed: "Although I have usually had good luck in cases of 
fire, they say that the devil is ever at one*s shoulder, and" — Here an exclamation from his 
friend interrupted him, and turning quickly he was considerably taken aback at seeing the 
devil himself, or something like him, at his very shoulder as he spoke. Recovering his 
equanimity, with the ease and suavity which is usual with him in all company, .Mr. Ben- 
nett was about to address the intruder when he perceived that what lie had taken for the 
gentleman in black was uothing more than a frightened orang-out ing. The poor creature, 
but recently released from captivity, and doubtless thinking that lie might till some vacancy 
in the editorial corps of the paper in question, had descended by the water-pipe and instinc- 
tively taken refuge in the inner sanctum of the establishment. Although the editor— per- 
haps from the fact that he saw nothing peculiarly strange in the visitati o 2 lined 
his composure, it was far otherwise with his friend, who immediately gave the alarm. Mr. 
Hudson rushed in and boldly attacked the monkey, grasping him by the throat. The book- 
editor next came in, obtaining a clutch upon the brute by the ears : the musical critic 
followed, and seized the tail with both hands, and a number of reporters, armed with 
inkstands and sharpened pencils, came next, followed by a dozen policemen with brand- 
ished clubs ; at the same time, the engineer in the basement, received the preconcerted 
signal and got ready his hose, wherewith to pour boiling hot water upon the heads of those 
in the streets, in case it should prove a regular systematized attack by gorillas, Brazil apes, 
and chimpanzees. Opposed to this formidable combination, the rash intruder fared badly, 
and was soon in durance vile. Numerous other incidents of a similar kind occurred ; but 
some ol the most amusing were in connection with the wax figures. 

Upon the same impulse which prompts men in time of tire to fling valuable looking- 
glasses out of three-story windows, and at tiie same time tenderly to lower down feather 
beds — soon after the Museum took fire, a number of sturdy firemen rushed into the build- 
ing to carry out the wax figures. There were thousand of valuable articles which muht 
have been saved, if there had been less of solicitude displayed for the miserable effigies 
which are usually exhibited under the appellation of " wax figures. 11 As it was, a dozen 
fit emeu rushed into the apartment where the figures were kept, amid a multitude of crawl- 
in- snakes, chattering monkeys and escaped paroquets. The "Djing Brigand 11 was 
unceremoniously throttled and dragged toward the door; liberties were taken with tiie 
tearful " Senorita," who has so long knelt and so constantly wagged her doll's head at his 
side: the mules of the other bandits were upset, and they themselves roughly seized. The 
full length statue of P. T. Barnum fell down of its own accord, as if disgusted with the 
whole affair. A red-shirted fireman seized with either hand Franklin Tierce and James 
Buchanan by their coat-collars, tucked the Prince Imperial of France, under one arm, and 
the Veiled Murderess uuder the other, and coolly departed for the street Two r 
boys quarreled over the Tom Thumb, but at length settled the controversy by onooi I 
taking the head, the other satisfying himself with the legs below the 
dentlv had Tom under their thumbs, and intended to keep him down. While a curl 
f-eeKing policeman was garroting Benjamin Franklin, with the idea of abducting him. a 
small monkey, flung from the window-sill by the Btrong hand of an impatient fireman, made 
a straight dive, hitting Poor Richard just below the waist-coat, and passing through his 
stomach, as fairly as the Harlequin in the "Green Monster 11 pantomime ever pierced the 
picture with the slit in it, which always bangs BO conveniently low and near Patrick Henry 
hail his teeth knocked out b\ a dying missile, and in carrying Daniel Lambert down - 
he was found to be so large that they had to break off his head in order to get him through 
tiie door. At length the heat became intense, tfa began to perspire freely, ami 

t lie swiftly approaching flames compelled all hands to desist from an., further attempt at 
rescue. Throwing a parting glance behind as we passid down the stairs, we saw tne 
remaining dignitaries in a strange plight. Some one had stuck • cigar in General Wash- 
ington's mouth, and thus, with his chapeau crushed down over his . 
reclining upon the ample lap of Moll Pitcher, tne Father of his Country led the \anof m 


•orry a band of patriots as not often comes within one's experience to see. General Mai ion 
was playing a dummy game of poker with General Lafayette: Governor Morris was hav- 
ing a set-to with Nathan Lane, and James Madison was executing a Dutch polka with 
Madam Roland on one arm and Lucretia Borgia on the other. The next moment the 
advancing flames compelled us to retire. 

We believe that all the living curiosities were saved ; but the giant girl, Anna Swan, was 
only rescued with the utmost difficulty. There was not a door through which her bulky 
frame could obtain a passage. It was likewise feared that the stairs would break down, even 
if she should reach them. Her best friend, the living skeleton, stood by her as long as he 
dared, but then deserted her. while, as the heat grew in intensity, the perspiration rolled 
from her face in little brooks and rivulets, which pattered musically upon the floor. At 
length, as a last resort, the employees of the place procured a lofty derrick which fortu- 
nately happened to be standing near, and erected it alongside the Museum. A portion ot 
the wall was then broken ofl 'on each side ot the window, the strong tackle was got in 
readiness, the tall woman was made fast to one end and swung over the heads of the 
people in the street, with eighteen men grasping the other extremity of the line, and low- 
ered down from the third story, amid enthusiastic applause. A carriage of extraordinary 
capacity was in readiness, and,' entering this, the young lady was driven away to a hotel. 

When the surviving serpents, that were released by the partial burning of the box in 
which they were contained, crept along on the floor to the balcony of the Museum and 
dropped on the sidewalk, the crowd, seized with St. Patrick's aversion to the reptiles, fled 
with such precipitate haste that they knocked each other down and trampled on one 
another in the most reckless and damaging manner. 

Hats were lost, coats torn, boots burst and pantaloons dropped with magnificent miscel- 
laneousness, and dozens of those who rose from the miry streets into which they had been 
thrown, looked like the disembodied spirits of a mud bank. The snakes crawled on the 
sidewalk and into Broadway, where some of them died from injuries received, and others 
were despatched by the excited populace. Several of the serpents of the copper-head 
species, escaped the fury of the tumultuous masses, and, true to their instincts, sought shel- 
ter in the World and Xews offices. A large black bear escaped from the burning Museum 
into Ann street, and then made his way into Nassau, and down that thoroughfare iuto 
Wall, where his appearance caused a sensation. Some superstitious persons believed 
him the spirit of a departed Ursa Major, and others of his fraternity welcomed the animal 
as a favorable omen. The bear walked quietly along to the Custom House, ascended the 
steps of the building, and became bewildered, as many a biped bear has done before him. 
He seemed to lose his sense of vision, and no doubt, endeavoring to operate for a fall, 
walked over the side of the steps and broke his neck. He succeeded in his* object, but it 
cost him dearly. The appearance of Bruin in the street sensibly affected the stock market, 
and shares fell rapidly ; but when he lost his life in the careless manner we have described, 
shares advanced again, and the Bulls triumphed once more. 

Broadway and its crossings have not witnessed a denser throng for months thar assem- 
bled at the fire yesterday. Barnum's was always popular, but it never drew so vast a 
crowd before. There must have been forty thousand people on Broadway, between Maiden 
Lane and Chambers street, and a great portion stayed there until dusk. So great was the 
concourse of people that it was with difficulty pedestrians or vehicles could pass. 

After the fire several high-art epicures grouping among the ruins, found choice morsels of 
boiled whale, roasted kangaroo and fricassed crocodile, which, it is said, they relished; 
though the many would have failed to appreciate such rare edibles Probably the recherche 
epicures will declare the only true way to prepare those meats is to cook them in a museum 
wrapped in flames, in the same manner that the Chinese, according to Charles Lamb, first 
discovered roast pig in a burning house, and ever afterward set a house on fire with a pig 
inside, when they wanted that particular food. 

AH the New York journals, and many more in other cities, editorially expressed 
their sympathy with my misfortune, and their sense of the loss the community 
had sustained in the destruction of the American Museum. The following editorial 
is from the New York Tribune, of July 14, 1865: 

The destruction of no building in this city could have caused so much excitement, and 90 
much regret as that of Barnum's Museum. The collection ol curiosities was very large, 
and though many of them m:iy not have had much intrinsic or memorial value, a consider- 
able portion was certainly of great worth for any Museum. But aside from this, pleasant 
memories clustered about the place, which for so many years has been the chief resort for 
amL3ement to the common people who cannot often afford to treat themselves to a night 
at the more expensive theaters, while to the children of the city, Barnum's has been a foun- 
tain of delight, ever offering new attractions as captivating and as implicitly believed in 
as the Arabian Nights, Entertainments : Theater, Menagerie and Museum, it amused, 
instructed, and astonished. If its thousands and tens of thousands of annual visitors were 
bewildered sometimes with a Woolly Horse, a What is It? or a Mermaid, they found repose 
and certainty in a Giraffe, a Whale or a Rhinoceros. K wax effigies of pirates and mur- 
derer- made them shudder lest those dreadful figures should start out of their glass cases 
and repeat their horrid deeds, they were reassured by the presence of the mildest and most 
amiable of giants, and the fattest of mortal w omen, whose dead weight alone could ciuah 


all the wax figures Into their original cukes. It was a source ot 1111 failing interest to all 
country visiters, and New York to many of them was onl) the place that held Baruum's 
Museum. It was the first thing — often the only thing— they visited when they came among 
as. and nothing that could have been contrived, out of our present resources, could have 
offered so many attractions unless some more ingenious showman had undertaken to add to 
Barnum's collection of waxen criminals by patting In a cage the live Boards of the Com- 
mon Council. We mourn its loss, but not as without consolation. Barnum's Museum Is 
gone, but Barnum himself, happily, did not share the fate of his rattlesnakes and his. at 
least, most " un-happy Family.'' There are fishes in the seas and beasts in the forest; 
birds still ily in the air, and strange creatures slid roam in the deserts ; giants and p.. 
still wander up and down the earth ; the oldest man, the (attest woman, and thesur. 
baby are still living, and Barnnm will find them. 

Or even if none of these things or creatures existed, we could trust to Barnum to make 
them out of hand. The Museum, then, is only a temporary loss, and much as we s. 
thize with the proprietor, the public may trust to his well-known ability and energy to BOOU 
renew a place of amusement which was a source of so much innocent pleasure, «>.nd had in 
it so many elements of solid excellence. 

As already stated, my insurance was but $40,000, while the collection, at the 
lowest estimate, was worth $400,000, and as my premium was five percent., I had 
paid the insurance companies more than they returned to me. When the fire 
occurred, my summer pantomime season had just begun and the Museum waa 
doing an immensely profitable business. My first impulse, after reckoning up my 
losses, was to retire from active life and from all business occupation beyond what 
my large real estate interests in Bridgeport, and my property in New York would 
compel. I felt that I had still a competence, and that after a most active and 
busy life, at fifty-five years, I was entitled to retirement, to comparative rest for 
the remainder of my days. I called on my old friend, the editor of the Tribune, 
for advice on the subject. 

" Accept this fire as a notice to quit, and go a-fishing," said Mr. Greeley. 

" A-fishing! " I exclaimed. 

'' Yes, a-fishing; I have been wanting to go a-fishing for thirty years, and have 
not yet found time to do so," replied Mr. Greeley. 

I really felt that his advice was good and wise, and had I consulted only my 
own ease and interest I should have acted upon it. But two considerations 
moved me to pause: First, one hundred and fifty employees, many of whom 
depended upon their exertions for their daily bread, were thrown out of work at 
a season when it would be difficult for them to get engagements elsewhere. 
Second, I felt that a large city like New York needed a good Museum, and that 
my experience of a quarter of a century in that direction afforded extraordinary 
facilities for founding another establishment of the kind, and so I took a few days 
for reflection. 

Meanwhile, the Museum employees were tendered a benefit at the Academy of 
Music, at which most of the dramatic artists in -the city volunteered their services. 
I was called out, and made some off-hand remarks, in which I stated that nothing 
which I could utter in behalf of the recipients of that benefit, could plead for 
them half so eloquently as the smoking ruins of the building where they had so 
long earned their support by their efforts to gratify the public. At the same time 
I announced that, moved by the considerations I have mentioned, I had concluded 
to establish another Museum, and that, in order to give present occupation to my 
employees, I had engaged the Winter Garden Theater for a few weeks, and I 
hoped to open a new establishment of my own in the ensuing fall. 

The New York Sun commented upon the few remarks winch I was suddenly 
and quite unexpectedly called upon to make, in the following flattering manner: 

One of the happiest impromptu ora'orial efforts that we have heard for some time, was 
that made by Barnum at the benefit performance given lor his employees on Friday after- 
noon, if a stranger wanted to satisfy himself how the man had managed so to 


monopolize the ear and eye of the public during; his Ions; career, he could not have had a bet 
ter opportunity of doing so than by listening to this address. Every word, though delivered 
with apparent carelessness, struck a key-note in the hearts of his listeners. Simple, forcible 
and touching, it showed how thoroughly this extraordinary man comprehends the character 
ot his countrymen, and how easily he can play upon their feelings. 

Those who look upon Barnum as a mere charlatan, have really no knowledge of him. It 
would be easy to demonstrate that the qualities that have placed him in his present position 
of notoriety and affluence would, in another pursuit, have raised him to far greater emi- 
nence. In his breadth of views, his profound knowledge of mankind, his courage under 
reverses, his indomitable perseverance, his ready eloquence and his admirable business 
tact, we recognize the elements that are conducive to success in most other pursuits. More 
than almost any other living man, Barnum may be said to be a representative type of the 
American mind. 

I very soon secured by lease the premises, numbers 535, 537 and 539 Broadway, 
seventy-five feet front and rear, by two hundred feet deep, and known as the 
Chinese Museum buildings. In less than four months, I succeeded in converting 
this building into a commodious Museum and lecture-room, and meanwhile I 
sent agents through America and Europe to purchase curiosities. Besides hun- 
dreds of small collections, I bought up several entire museums, and with many 
living curiosities and my old company of actors and actresses, I opened to the 
public, November 13, 1865, "Barnurn's New American Museum," thus beginning 
a new cliapter in my career as a manager and showman. 



DuitiNGmy membership in the Connecticut Legislature of 1885, I made several 
new friends and agreeable acquaintances, and many things occurred, Bometimei 

in the regular proceedings, and sometimes as episodes, which made the session 
memorable. On one occasion, a representative, who was a lawyer, introduced 
resolutions to reduce the number of Representatives, urging that the "House" 
was too large and ponderous a body to work smoothly; that a smaller Dumber 
of persons could accomplish business more rapidly and completely ; and, in fact, 
that the Connecticut Legislature was so large that the rneml>ers did not have time 
to get acquainted with each other before the body adjourned sine die. 

I replied, that the larger the number of representatives, the more difficult it 
would be to tamper with them ; and if they all could not become personally 
acquainted, so much the better, for there would be fewer "rings, "and less facili- 
ties for forcing improper legislation. 

"As the house seems to be thin now, I will move to lay my resolutions on the 
table," remarked the member; "but I shall call them up when there is a full 

"According to the gentleman's own theory," I replied, "the smaller the num- 
ber, the surer are we to arrive at correct conclusions. Now, therefore, is just the 
time to decide; and I move that the gentleman's resolutions be considered." This 
proposition was seconded amid a roar of laughter; and the resolutions were 
almost unanimously voted down, before the member fairly comprehended what 
was going on. He afterwards acknowledged it as a pretty fair joke, and at any 
rate as an effective one. 

The State House at Hartford was a disgrace to Connecticut; the Hall of Repre- 
sentatives was too small; there were no committee rooms, and the building was 
utterly unfit for the purposes to which it was devoted. The State House at New 
Haven was very little better, and I made a strong effort to secure the erection of 
new edifices in both cities. I was chairman of the committee on new State 
Houses, and during our investigations it was ascertained that Bridgeport, Middle- 
town and Meriden would each be willing to erect a State House at its own cost, 
if the city should be selected as the new capital of the State. These movements 
aroused the jealousy of Hartford and New Haven, which at once appointed com- 
mittees to wait upon us. The whole matter, however, finally went by default, 
and the question was never submitted to the people. Since that period, however, 
Hartford has been made the only capital city. 

As the session drew near its close, the railroad controversy culminated by my 
introduction of a bill to amend the act for the regulation of railroads, by the 
interpolation of the following: 

Section 508. No railroad company, which has had n system of commutation fares in force 
for more than four years, shall abolish, alter, or modify the same, except for the regulation 
of the price charged for such commutation ; and such price shall, in no case, be raised to an 
extent that shall alter the ratio between such commutation and the rates then charged for 
•way fare, on the railroad of such company. 



The New York and New Haven Railroad Company seemed determined to move 
heaven and earth to prevent the passage of this law. The halls of legislation were 
thronged with railroad lobbyists, who button-holed nearly every member. My 
motives were attacked, and the most foolish slanders were circulated. Not only 
every legal man in the house was arrayed against me, but occasionally a " country 
member " who had promised to stick by and aid in checking the cupidity of rad- 
road managers, would drop off, and be found voting on the other side. I devoted 
many hours, and even days, to explaining the tnie state of things to the members 
from the rural regions, and, although the prospect of carrying this great reform 
looked rather dark, I felt that I had a majority of the honest and disinterested 
members of the house with me. Finally, Senator Ballard informed me that he 
had canvassed the Senate, and was convinced that the bill could be carried through 
that body if I could be equally successful with the house. At last it was known 
that the final debate would take place and the vote be taken on the nioraing of 
July 13. 

When the day arrived the excitement was intense. The passages leading to the 
hall were crowded with railroad lobbyists: for nearly every railroad in the State 
had made common cause with the New York and New Haven Company, and 
every representative was in his seat, excepting the sick man, who had doctored 
the railroads till he needed doctoring himself. The debate was led off by skir- 
mishers on each side, and was finally closed on the part of the railroads by Mr. 
Harrison, of New Haven, who was chairman of the railroad committee. Mr. 
Henry B. Harrison was a close and forcible debater and a clear-headed lawyer. 
His speech exhibited considerable thought, and his earnestness and high character 
as a gentleman of honor, carried much weight. Besides, his position as chairman 
of the committee naturally influenced some votes. He claimed to understand 
thoroughly the merits of the question, from having, in his capacity as chairman, 
heard all the testimony and arguments which had come before that committee; 
and a majority of the committee, after due deliberation, had reported against the 
proposed bilL, 

On closing the debate, I endeavored to state briefly the gist of the case— that, 
only a few years before, the New York and New Haven Company had fixed their 
own price for commuters' tickets along the whole line of the road, and had thus 
induced hundreds of New York citizens to remove to Connecticut with their 
families, and build their houses on heretofore unimproved property, thus vastly 
increasing the value of the lands, and correspondingly helping our receipts for 
taxes. I urged that there was a tacit miderstanding between the railroad and 
these commuters and the public generally, that such persons as chose thus to 
remove from a neighboring State, and bring their families and capital within our 
borders, should have the right to pass over the railroad on the terms fixed at the 
time, by the president and directors ; that any claim that the railroad could not 
afford to commute at the prices they had themselves established was absurd, from 
the fact that, even now, if one thousand families who reside in New York, and 
had never been in our own State, should propose to the railroad to remove these 
families (embracing in the aggregate five thousand persons) to Connecticut, and 
build one thousand new houses on the line of the New York and New Haven 
Railroad, provided the railroad would carry the male bead of the family at all 
times for nothing, the company could well afford to accept the proposition, 
because they would receive full prices for transporting all other members of these 
families, at all times, as well as full prices for all then* visitors and servants. 


And now, what are the facts? Do we desire the railroad to carry oven one fifth ol these 
new cornel's for nothing? Do we, indeed, desire to compel them to transport them for any 
definitely fixed price at all? On the contrary, we And that daring the late rebellion, when gold 
was selling for two dollars and eighty cents pur dollar, this company doubled its prk 
commutation, and retains the same prices now, although gold is but one-half that amount 
($1.40). We don't ask them to go back to their former prices ; we don't compel them to 
rest even here; we simply say. increase your rates, pile up your demands juntas high a* 
you desire, only yon shall not make fish of one and fowl of another. You have fixed and 
increased your prices to passengers of all classes just as you liked, and established your 

own ratio between those Who pay by the year, and those who pay by the single trip ; and 
now. all we ask is, that you shall not change the ratio. Charge ten dollni eager 

from New York to New lla\en, if you have the courage to risk the competition of the 
Bteamboats; and whatever percentage you choose to increase the fare of transient p - 
gere, we permit you to increase the rates ol commuters in the same ratio. 

The interests or the State, as well as communities, demand this hw; lor if i' 
fixed by statute that the prices of commutation are not to be increased, many persons will 
leave the localities where extortion is permitted on the railroads, and will settle in our 
btate. But these railroad gentlemen say they have no intention to increase their ra 
commutation, and they deprecate what they term •'premature legislation," and an uncalled 
(or meddling with their a Hairs. Mr. Speaker, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound 
of cure." Men engaged in plots against public interests always ask to be " let alone." 
Jefi* Davis only asked to be "let alone,"' when the North was raising great urmies to pre- 
vent the dissolution ot' the Union. The people cannot afford to let these railroads alone. 
This hall, crowded with railroad lobbyists, as the frogs thronged Egypt, is an admonition 
to all honest legislators, that it is unsafe to allow the monopolies the chance to rivet the 
chains which already fetter the limbs of those whom circumstances place in the power of 
these companies. 

It was at this point in my remarks that I received the telegram from my son- 
iu-law in New York, announcing the burning of the American Museum. Reading 
the dispatch, and laying it on my desk without further attention, I continued: 

These railroad gentlemen absolutely deny any intention of raising the fares of commuters, 
and profess to think it very hard that disinterested and conscientious gentlemen like them 
should be judged by the doings of the Hudson River and Harlem railroads. But now, Mr. 
Speaker, I am going to expose the duplicity of these men. 1 have had detectives on their 
track, lor men who plot against public interests deserve to be watched. I have in my 
pocket positive proofs that they did, and do, intend to spring their trap upon the unpro- 
tected commuters on the New York and New Haven railroad. 

I then drew from my pocket and read two telegrams received that morning, one 
from New York and the other from Bridgeport, announcing that the New York 
and New Haven Railroad Directory had held a secret meeting in New York, the 
day before, for the purpose of immediately raising the fares of commuters twenty 
per cent., so that in case my bill became a law they could get ahead of me. I 

Now, Mr. Speaker, I know that these despatches are true ; my information is from the 
inside of the camp. 1 see a director of the New York and New Haven railroad sitting in 
this hall; I know that he knows these despatches are true; and if he will gobefor 
railroad committee and make oath that he don't know that such a meeting took place 
terday, for exactly this purpose. 1 will forfeit and pay one thousand dollars to the families 
of poor soldiers in this city. In consideration of this attempt to forestall the action of 
this legislature, I ofi'er an amendment to the bill now under consideration by adding 
the word '" ratio," the words "as it existed on the first day of duly, 1865." In this u . 
shall cut off any action which these >deek gentlemen may have taken yesterday. I 
now evident that these railroad gentlemen have >et a trap for this legislature; and I pro- 
pose that we now spring the trap, and see if we cannot catch these wily railroad directors 
in it. Mr. Speaker, 1 move the previous question. 

The opposition were astounded at the revelation and the previous question was 
ordered. The bill as amended was carried almost with a "hurrah."' It is now an 
act in the statute book of the State, and it annually adds many dollars to the 
assessment roll of Connecticut, since the protection afforded to commuters against 


the extortions practised hy railway companies elsewhere is a strong inducement 
to permanent settlers along the lines of Connecticut railways.* 

In the spring of 1866, I was again elected to represent the town of Fairfield in 
the Connecticut Legislature. I had not intended to accept a nomination for that 
office a second time, but one of the directors of the New York and New Haven 
Railroad, who was a citizen of Fairfield and had been a zealous lobby member of 
the preceding legislature, had declared that I should not represent the town again. 
As the voters of Fairfield seemed to think that the public interests were of more 
Lniportance than the success of railroad conspiracies, combinations, and monopo- 
lies, I accepted their nomination. 

Almost the only exciting question before that legislature was the election of an 
United States Senator. President Johnson had begun to show disaffection 
towards the Republican party which elected him, and the zealous members of 
that party were watching with anxious hearts the actions of those who offered 
themselves as candidates for offices of trust and responsibility. One of the 
Republican United States Senators had already abandoned the party and affiliated 
with Johnson. The other Senator was a candidate for re-election. He had been 
a favorite candidate with me, but when I became convinced that he sympathized 
with the recreant Senator and President Johnson, no importunities of political 
friends or any other inducement could change my determination to defeat him , 
if possible. I devoted days and nights to convincing some of my fellow-members 
that the interests of the State and the country demanded the election of Hon. O. 
S. Ferry to that important office. 

Excitement ran high. Ex-Governor Wm. A. Buckingham was also a candi- 
date. I knew he would make an excellent Senator, but he had filled the 
gubernatorial chair for eight years; and as the present Senator had held his office 
twelve years, and he was from the same city as Governor Buckingham, I urged 
that Norwich should not carry off all the honors; that Fairfield county was 
entitled to the office; and both before and at the Republican nominating caucus 
I set forth, so far as I was able, what I considered the merits and peculiar claims 
of Mr. Ferry. I suggested that Mr. Buckingham might rest on his laurels for a 
couple of years and be elected to fill the place of the next retiring Senator in 1868. 
Mr. Ferry started in the ballotings with a very small vote indeed, and it required 
the most delicate management to secure a majority for him in that caucus. But 
it was done; and as the great strife was between the two other rival candidate?, 
Mr. Ferry had scarcely a hope of the nomination and was much surprised the 
next morning to hear of his success. He was elected for the term beginning 
March 4, 1866, and one of his opposing candidates in the caucus, Ex-Governor 
William A. Buckingham, was elected, two years afterwards, for the senatorial 
term commencing March 4, 1869. 

I was again chairman of the Committee on Agriculture, and on the whole the 
session at New Haven, in 1S66, was very agreeable to me ; there were many con- 
genial spirits in the House and our severer labors were lightened by some very 
delightful episodes. 

During the summer, Governor Hawley, Hon. David Gallup, Speaker of the 
House, Hon. O. S. Ferry, United States Senator, Mr. W. G. Coe, of Winsted, 

* The New York and New Haven railroad company never forgave me for thus securing a 
righteous law for the protection of its commuters. Even as lately as 1871, the venders of 
books on the trains were prohibited from selling to passengers my autobiography which 
exposed their cupidity. A parallel railroad from New York to New Haven, would be good 
paying stock, and would materially disturb, if not destroy, the present railroad and express 


Mr. A- B. Mygatt, of New Milford, Mr. George Pratt, of Norwich, Mr. EL B 
Wales, of the Scientific Ameriani, Mr. David dark, of Hartford, Mr. A. 11. 
Byington, of Norwalk, and many other gentlemen of distinction, were oocasiona] 
guests at Lindencroft. Several lames we had delightful sails, dinners, and clam- 
bakes at Chiles Island, eight miles east of Bridgeport , a most cool and charming 
spot in the warm summer days. The health of my wile, which had been i»><>r 
since 1855, prevented many occasions of festivity for which I had all other facili- 
ties; for Lindencroft was indeed a charming residence, and it afforded e 
requisite for the entertainment of large numbers of friends. 

During the summer, Governor Hawley appointed me a commissioner to the 
Paris Exposition, but I was unable to attend. 

In the spring of 18(37, 1 received from the Republican convention In the Fourth 
District in Connecticut, the nomination for Congress. As I have already re- 
marked, politics were always distasteful to me. I possessed, naturally, too much 
independence of mind, and too strong a determination to do what 1 believe I 
right, regardless of party expediency, to make a lithe and oily politician. To be 
called on to favor applications from office-seekers, without regard to their in 
and to do the dirty work too often demanded by political parties; to be "all 
things to all men" though not in the apostolic sense; to shake hands with ti 
whom I despised, and to kiss the dirty babies of those whose votes were con; 
were political requirements which I felt I could never acceptably fulfill. Never- 
theless, I had become, so far as business was concerned, almost a man of leisure : 
and some of my warmest, personal friends, insisted that a nomination to so high 
and honorable a position as a member of Congress, was not to be lightly rejed 
and so I consented to run. Fan-field and Litchfield counties composed the district, 
which, in the preceding Congressional election, in 1865, and just after the close 
of the war, was republican. In the year f ollowing, however, the district in State 
election went democratic. I had this democratic majority to contend against in 
1867, and as the whole State turned over and elected the democratic ticket, I lost 
my election- In the next succeeding Congressional election, m 1869, the Fourth 
District also elected the only democratic congressman chosen from Connecticut 
that year. 

I was neither disappointed nor cast down by my defeat. The political canvass 
served the purpose of giving me a new sensation, and introducing me to new 
phases of human nature — a subject which I had always great delight in studying 
The filth and scandal, the slanders and vindictiveness, the plottings and fawn 
ings, the fidelity, meanness and manliness, which by turns exhibited them- 
in the exciting scenes preceding the election, were novel to me, and were so fai 

Shortly after my opponent was nominated, 1 sent him the following letter 
which was also published in the Bridgeport Standard . 

Bridgeport, Conn., Feb. 81, 1867. 
W. H. Barxum, Esq., Salisbury, Conn.: 

Dear Sir: Observing that the Democratic party has nominated you for Con 
gress from this district, I desire to make you a proposition. 

The citizens of this portion of our State will be compiled, on the first Honda} 
in April next, to decide whether you or myself shall represent their interests and 
their principles in the Fortieth Oongresi of the l'i, 

The theory of our government is, that the will of the people shall t>o the la* 
of the land. It is important therefore, that tin all rote nnderatantl 


ingly, and especially at this important crisis in our national existence. In order, 
that the voters of this district shall fully comprehend the principles by which 
each of their congressional candidates is guided, I respectfully invite you to meet 
me in a serious and candid discussion of the important political issues of the day, 
at various towns in the Fourth Congressional District of Connecticut, on each 
week-day evening, from the fourth day of March until the thirtieth day of the 
same month, both inclusive. 

If you will consent to thus meet me in a friendly discussion of those subjects, 
now so near and dear to every American heart, and, I may add, possessing at this 
time such momentous interest to all civilized nations in the world who are suf- 
fering from inisrule, I pledge myself to conduct my portion of the debate with 
perfect fairness, and with aD due respect for my opponent, and doubt not you 
will do the same. 

Never, in my judgment, in our past history as a nation, have interests and 
questions more important appealed to the people for their wise and careful con- 
sideration. It is due to the voters of the Fourth Congressional District, that they 
have an early and full opportunity to examine their candidates in regard to 
these important problems, and I shall esteem it a great privilege if you will 
accept tliis proposition. 

Please favor me with an early answer, and oblige, 

Truly yours, P. T. BARNTTM. 

To this letter Mr. William H. Barnuin replied, declining to accept my propo- 
sition to go before the people of the district and discuss the political questions of 
the day. 

When Congress met, I was surprised to see by the newspapers that the seat of 
my opponent was to be contested on account of alleged bribery, fraud and cor- 
ruption in securing his election. This was the first intimation that I had ever 
received of such an intention, and I was never, at any time before or afterwards, 
consulted upon the subject. The movement proved to have originated with 
neighbors and townsmen of the successful candidate, who claimed to be able to 
prove that he had paid large sums of money to purchase votes. They also claimed 
that they had proof that men were brought from an adjoining State to vote, and 
that in the office of the successful candidate naturalization papers were forged 
to enabled foreigners to vote upon them. But, I repeat, I took no part nor lot in 
the matter, but concluded that if I had been defeated by fraud, mine was the 
real success. 



When the old American Museum burned down, and while the ruins w • 
smoking, I had numerous applications for the purchase of the lease of the two 
lots, fifty-six by one hundred feet, which had still nearly eleven yean to ran. It 
will be remembered that in 1847 I came back from England, while my second 
lease of live yeai-s had yet three years more to run, and renewed that lease for 
twenty-five years from 1851 at an annual rental of £10,000. It was also stipulate i 
that in case the buildhig was destroyed by fire the proprietor of the property 
should expend twenty-four thousand dollars towards the erection of a new edifice, 
and at the end of the term of lease he was to pay me the appraised value of the 
building, not to exceed $100,000. Rents and real estate values had trebled since 
I took this twenty-five years' lease, and hence the remaining term was very valu- 
able. I engaged an experienced and competent real estate broker in Pine street 
to examine the terms of my lease, and in view of his knowledge of the cost of 
erecting buildings and the rentals they were commanding in Broadway, I enjoined 
him to take his time, and make a careful estimate of what the lease was worth to 
me, and what price I ought to receive if I sold it to another party. At the end 
of several days, he showed me his figures, which proved that the lease was fully 
worth $275,000. As I was inclined to have a museum higher up town, I did not 
wish to engage in erecting two buildings at once, so I concluded to offer my 
museum lease for sale. Accordingly, I put it into the hands of Mr. Homer Mor- 
gan, with directions to offer it for $225,000, which was $50,000 less than the value 
at which it had been estimated. 

The next day 1 met Mr. James Gordon Bennett, who told me that he desired to 
buy my lease, and at the same time to purchase the fee of the museum prop- 
ter the erection thereon of a publication building for the New York Hi- raid. I 
said I thought it was very fitting the Herald should be the successor of the Mu- 
seum, and Mr. Bennett asked my price. 

" Please to go or send immediately to Homer Morgan's office," I replied, " and 
you will learn that Mr. Morgan has the lease for sale at $235,000. This is $50,000 
ten them its estimated value; but to you I will deduct $25,000 from my already 
reduced price, so you may have the lease for $200,000." 

Bennett replied that he would look into the affair closely; and the next da 
attorney sent for my lease. He kept it several days, and then appointed an hour 
for me to come to his office. I called according to appointni-nt. Mr. Bennett 
and his attorney had thoroughly examined the lease. It was the property of my 
wife. Bennett concluded to accept my offer. My win assigned the to him, 
and his attorney handed me Mr. Bennett's check on the Chemical Bank for 
$200,000. That same day I invested $50, (XX) in United States bonds; end the 
remaining $150,000 was similarly invested on the following day. I learned at that 
time that Bennett had agreed to purchase the fee of the property for 
He had been informed that the property was worth some $350,000 to $400,000, and 
he did not mind paying $100,000 extra for the purpose of carrying out his plans. 
But the parties who estimated for him the value of the land knew nothing of the 



face that there was a lease upon the property, else of course they would in their 
estimate have deducted the $200,000, which the lease would cost. When, there- 
fore, Mr. Bennett saw it stated in the newspapers that the sum which he had paid 
for a piece of land measuring only fifty -six by one hundred feet was more than 
was ever before paid in any city in the world for a tract of that size, he discov- 
ered the serious oversight which he had made ; and the owner of the property 
was immediately informed that Bennett would not take it. But Bennett had 
already signed a bond to the owner, agreeing to pay $100,000 cash, and to mort- 
gage the premises for the remaining $400,000. 

Supposing that by this step he had shaken off the owner of the fee, Bennett 
was not long in seeing that, as he was not to own the land, he would have no 
possible use for the lease, for which he had paid the $200,000; and accordingly his 
next step was to shake me off also, and get back the money he had paid me. 

My business for many years, a*s manager of the Museum and other public 
entertainments, compelled me to court notoriety ; and I always found Bennett's 
abuse far more remunerative than his praise, even if I could have had the praise 
te same price, that is, for nothing. Especially was it profitable to me when I 
could be the subject of scores of lines of his scolding editorials free of charge, 
instead of paying him forty cents a line for advertisements, which would not 
attract a tenth part so much attention. Bennett had tried abusing me, off and 
<m, for twenty years, on one occasion refusing my advertisement altogether for 
the space of about a year; but I always managed to be the gainer by his course. 
Now, however, when new difficulties threatened, all the leading managers in New 
York were members of the "Managers' Association," and as we all submitted to 
the arbitrary and extortionate demands of the Herald, Bennett thought he had 
but to crack his whip, in order to keep any and all of us within the traces. A ccord- 
ingly, one day Bennett's attorney wrote me a letter, saying that he would like to 
have me call on him at his office the following morning. Not dreaming of the 
object, I called as desired, and after a few pleasant commonplace remarks about 
the weather, and other trifles, the attorney said: 

"Mr. Barnum, I have sent for you to say that Mr. Bennett has concluded not 
to purchase the museum lots, and therefore that you had better take back the 
lease, and return the $200,000 paid for it." 

" Are you in earnest ?" I asked with surprise. 

"Certainly, quite so," he answered. 

"Really," I said, smiling, "I am sorry I can't accommodate Mr. Bennett; I 
have not got the little sum about me; in fact, I have spent the money." 

"It will be better for you to take back the lease," said the attorney, seriously. 

"Nonsense," I replied, "I shall do nothing of the sort, I don't make child's 
bargains. The lease was cheap enough, but I have other business to attend to, 
and shall have nothing to do with it." 

The attorney said very little in reply; but I could see, by the almost benignant 
sorrow expressed upon his countenance, that he evidently pitied me for the temer- 
ity that would doubtless lead me into the jaws of the insatiable monster of the 
Herald. The next morning I observed that the advertisement of my entertain- 
ments with my Museum Company at Winter Garden was left out of the Herald 
columns. I went directly to the editorial rooms of the Herald ; and learning 
that Bennett was not in, I said to Mr. Hudson, then managing editor: 

" My advertisement is left out of the Herald; is there a screw loose ?" 

" I believe there is," was the reply. 

" What is the matter ?" I asked. 


"You must ask the Emperor," said Mr. Hudson, meaning of ootzroe Bennett 
"When will the 'Emperor' be in?" I enquired "Next Monday," was the 


" Well, I shall not see him," I replied; " but I wish feo have this thing 
once. Mr. Hudson, I now tender you the money for the insert ■■• n of my Me 
advertisement on the same terms as are paid by other places of amusement; will 
you publish it ? " 

" I will not," Mr. Hudson peremptorily replied. 

"That is all," I said. Mr. Hudson then smilingly and blandly remarked, "1 
have formally answered your formal demand, because I suppose you require it; 
but you know, Mr. Barnuni, I can only obey orders." I assured him that 1 
understood the matter perfectly, and attached no blame to him in the pre::. 
I then proceeded to notify the secretary of the " Managers 1 Association " to call 
the managers together at twelve o'clock the following day; and there was a full 
meeting at the appointed time. I stated the tacts in the case in the Herald affair, 
and simply remarked, that if we did not make common cause against any 1 
paper publisher who excluded an advertisement from his columns simply to 
gratify a private pique, it was evident that either and ah of us were liable to 
imposition at any time. 

One of the managers immediately made a motion that the entire Association 
should stop their advertising and bill printing at the Herald office, and have no 
further connection with that establishment. Mr. Lester Wallack advised that 
this motion should not be adopted untd a committee had waited upon Bennett, 
and had reported the result of the interview to the Association. Accordingly, 
Messrs. Wallack, Wheatley and Stuart were delegated to go down to the //■ 
office to call on Mr. Bennett. 

The moment Bennett saw them, he evidently suspected the object of their 
mission, for he at once commenced to speak to Mr. Wallack in a patronizing 
manner; told him how long he had known, and how much he respected his late 
father, who was "a time English gentleman of the old school," with much 
in the same strain. Mr. Wallack replied to Bennett that the three managers 
were appointed a committee to wait upon him to ascertain if he insisted upon 
excluding from his columns the Museum advertisements — not on account of any 
objection to the contents of the advertisements, or to the Museum itself, but 
simply because he had a private business disagreement with the proprietor; inti- 
mating that such a proceeding, for such a reason, and no other, might lead CO a 
rupture of business relations with other managers. In reply, Mr. Bennett had 
something to say about the fox that had suffered tail wise from a trap, and there- 
upon advised all other foxes to cut their tails off; and he pointed the fable 
setting forth the impolicy of drawing down upon the Association the ' 
of the Herald. The committee, however, coolly insisted upon a direct 
their question. 

Bennett then answered: "I will not publish Barium; : [do my 

business as I please, and hi my own way." 

"So do we," replied one of the managers, and the committee witlnlr 

The next day the Managers' Association met, heard the report, and unanimously 
resolved to withdraw their advertisements from the Herald, and their 
from the Herald job establishment, and it was done. Nevertbel raid 

for several days continued to print gratuitously the advertisements of Wall 
Theater and Niblo's Garden, and inordinately pulled these establishments, evi- 
dently in order to ease the fall, and to convey the idea that some of the theaters 
patronized the Herald, and perhaps hoping by praising thi Iraw 


them back again, and so to nullify the agreement of the Association in regard to 
the Herald. Thereupon, the managers headed their advertisements in all the 
other New York papers with the line, "This establishment does not advertise in 
the New York Herald," and for many months this announcement was kept at the 
top of every theatrical advertisement and on the posters and playbills. 

The Herald then began to abuse and villify the theatrical and opera managers, 
their artists and their performances, and by way of contrast profusely praised 
Tony Pastor's Bowery show, and sundry entertainments of a similar character, 
which of course was well understood by the public and relished accordingly. 
Meanwhile, the first-class theaters prospered amazingly under the abuse of Ben- 
nett. Their receipts were never larger, and their houses never more thronged. 
The public took sides in the matter with the managers and against the Herald, 
and thousands of people went to the theaters merely to show their willingness 
to support the managers and to spite "Old Bennett." The editor was fairly 
caught in his own trap; other journals began to estimate the loss the Herald sus- 
tained by the action of the managers, and it was generally believed that this loss 
in advertising and job printing was not less than from $75,000 to $100,000 a year. 
The Herald's circulation also suffered terribly, since hundreds of people, at the 
hotels and elsewhere, who were accustomed to buy the paper solely for the sake 
of seeing what amusements were announced for the evening, now bought other 
papers. This was the hardest blow of all, and ib fully accounted for the abuse 
which the Herald daily poured out upon the theaters. 

Bennett evidently felt ashamed of the whole transaction; he would never 
publish the facts in his columns, though he once stated in an editorial that it had 
been reported that he had been cheated in purchasing the Broadway property; 
that the case had gone to court, and the public would soon know all the particu- 
lars. Some persons supposed by this that Bennett had sued me; but this was far 
from being the case. The owner of the lots sued Bennett, to compel him to take 
the title and pay for the property as per agreement; and that was all the "law'- 
there was about it. He held James Gordon Bennett's bond, that he would pay 
him half a million of dollars for the land, as follows: -$100,000 cash, and a bond 
and mortgage upon the premises for the remaining §400,000. The day before the 
suit was to come to trial, Bennett came forward, took the deed, and paid $100,000 
cash, and gave a bond and mortgage of the entire premises for §400,000. 

Had I really taken back the lease as Bennett desired, he would have been in a 
worse scrape than ever; for having been compelled to take the property, he would 
have been obliged, as my landlord, to go on and assist in building a Museum for 
me, according to the terms of my lease, and a Museum I should certainly have 
built on Bennett's property, even if I had owned a dozen Museums up town 

In the autumn of 1868, the associated managers came to the conclusion that the 
punishment of Bennett for two years was sufficient, and they consented to restore 
their advertisements to the Herald. I was then carrying on my new Museum, 
and although I did not immediately resume advertising in the Herald, I have 
since done so. 

Mr. Bennett died in 1872. In these pages I have not been sparing of criticism 
upon his business plans and schemes, but cannot forbear acknowledgment of the 
extraordinary talent and tact of this great journalist. By enterprise and energy 
he attained a world-wide reputation and a fortune of large proportions. Let 
personal conflicts be buried in forgiving forgetfulness. 



During the summer of 1866, Mr. Edwin L. Brown, Corresponding Secretary 
of the "Associated Western Literary Societies," opened a correspondence with 
me relative to delivering, in the ensuing season, my lecture on "Success in Life," 
before some sixty lyceurns, Young Men's Christian Associations, and literary 
Societies belonging to the union which Mi*. Brown represented. The scheme 
embraced an extended tour through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wis- 
consin, Missouri and Iowa, and I was to receive one hundred dollars for every 
repetition of my lecture, with all my traveling expenses oti the route. Agn 
to these terms, I commenced the engagement at the appointed time, and, averag 
ing five lectures a week, I finished the prescribed round just before New Year's. 
Before beginning this engagement, however, I gave the lecture for other 
associations at Wheeling, Virginia, Cincinnati, Ohio, and Louisville, Kentucky. 
I also delivered the lecture in Chicago, for Professor Eastman, who at that time 
had one of his Business Colleges in that city. He engaged the celebrated Crosby 
Opera House for the occasion, and I think, with perhaps two exceptions, I never 
spoke before so large and intelligent an audience as was there assembled. It was 
estimated that from five to six thousand ladies and gentlemen were gathered in 
that capacious building; and nearly as many more went away unable to obtain 
admission. I was glad to observe by the action of the audience, and by the 
journals of the following day, that my efforts on that occasion were satisfactory. 
Indeed, though it is necessarily egotistical, I may truly say that with this lecture 
I always succeeded in pleasing my hearers. I may add, that I have invariably, 
as a rule, devoted to charitable purposes every penny I ever received for lectur- 
ing, except while I was under the great Jerome Clock cloud in England, when I 
needed all I could earn. 

My western tour was delightf ul ; indeed it was almost an ovation, i found, in 
fact, that when I had strayed so far from home, the curiosity exhibitor himself 
became quite a curiosity. On several occasions, in Iowa, I was introduced to 
ladies and gentlemen, who had driven thirty miles in carriages to hear me. I 
insisted, however, that it was more to see than to hear; and I asked them if that 
was not really the case. In several instances they answered in the ailiri native. 
In fact, one quaint old lady said: "Why, to tell you the truth, Mr. Bannnn. we 
have read so much about you, and your Museum and your queer carrying 
that we were not quite sure but you had horns and cloven feet, and so we came 
to satisfy our curiosity; but, la, me! I don't see but what you look a good deal 
like other folks, after alL" 

On my tour, in attempting to make the connection from Cleveland, Ohio, to 
Port Wayne, Indiana, via Toledo, I arrived at the latter city at one o'clock p. m., 
which was about two hours too late to catch the train in time for the hour 
announced for my lecture that evening. I went to Mr. Andrews, the superin- 
tendent of the Toledo, Wabash and Western Railway, and told him I wanted bo 
hire a locomotive and car to run to Fort Wayne, as I must be there at eight 
o'clock at night. 



" It is an impossibility," said Mr. Andrews ; " the distance is ninety-four miles 
and no train leaves here till morning. The road is much occupied by freight 
trams, and we never run extra trains in this part of the country, unless the 
necessity is imperative." 

I suppose I looked astonished, as well as chagrined. I knew that if I missed 
lecturing in Fort Wayne that evening, I could not appoint another time for that 
purpose, for every night was engaged during the next two months. I also felt 
that a large number of persons in Fort Wayne would be disappointed, and I grew 
desperate. Drawing my wallet from my pocket, I said: 

" I will give two hundred dollars, and even more, if you say so, to be put into 
Fort Wayne before eight o'clock to-night; and, really, I hope you will accommo- 
date me " 

The superintendent looked me thoroughly over in half a minute, and I fancied 
he had come to the conclusion that I was a burglar, a counterfeiter, or something 
worse, fleeing from justice. My surmise was confirmed, when he slowly 
7-emarked : 

"Your business must be very pressing, sir." 

"It is indeed," I replied; " I am Barnum, the Museum man, and am engaged 
to speak in Fort Wayne to-night." 

He evidently did not catch the whole of my response, for he immediately said. 

" Oh, it is a show, eh? Where is old Barnum himself ? " 

" I am Barnum," I replied, "and it is a lecture which I am advertised to give 
to-night; and I would not disappoint the people for anything." 

"Is this P. T. Barnum?" said the superintendent, starting to his feet. 

" I am sorry to say it is," I replied. 

"Well, Mr. Barnum," said he, earnestly, "if you can stand it to ride to Fort 
Wayne in the caboose of a freight train, your well-established reputation for 
punctuality in keeping your engagements shall not suffer on account of the Toledo, 
Wabash and Western Railroad." 

" Caboose! " said I, with a laugh, " I would ride to Fort Wayne astride of the 
engine, or boxed up and stowed away in a freight car, if necessary, in order to 
meet my engagement. " 

A freight train was on the point of starting for Fort Wayne ; all the cars were 
at once ordered to be switched off, except two, which the superintendent said were 
necessary to balance the train; the freight trains on the road were telegraphed to 
clear the track, and the polite superintendent, pointing to the caboose, invited me 
to step in. I drew out my pocket-book to pay, but he smilingly shook his head, 
and said: "You have a through ticket from Cleveland to Fort Wayne; hand it 
to the freight agent on your arrival, and all will be right."* 

The excited state of mind which I had suffered while under the impression that 
the audience in Fort Wayne must be disappointed, now changed, and I felt as 
happy as a king. In fact, I enjoyed a new sensation of imperial superiority, in 
that I was "monarch of all I surveyed," emperor of my own train, switching 
all other trains from the mam track, and making conductors all along the line 
wonder what grand mogul had thus taken complete possession and control of 
the road. Indeed, as we sped past each train, which stood quietly on a side 
track waiting for us to pass, I could not help smiling at the glances of excited 
curiosity which were thrown into our car by the agent and brakeman of the 
train which had been so peremptorily ordered to clear the track; and always step- 

*See Illustration, page 252. 

PI BLIC u:< 11 in ■ 

ping at the caboose door, I raised my [ving in return an almost rev- 

erent salute, which the occupants of the waiting train thought due, no doubt* to 
the distinguished person for whom they were ordered I.. :u to 

to make way. 

I now began to reflect that the Fort Wayne lecture committee, ujkj! 
ing that I did not arrive by the regular passenger train, would i. 
all, and that probably they might issue small bills announcing my Cailui 
arrive. I therefore prepared the following telegram n 
on our arrival at Napoleon, the first station at which we stopped: 

Lecture Committee, Fort Wayne: Rest perfectly tranquil. I am to be delivered at Fort 
Wayne by contract by half-past seven o'clock— special train. 

At the same station I received a telegram from Mr. Andrews, the superhr 
ent, asking me how I liked the caboose. I replied : 

The springs of the caboose are softer than down ; I am as happy m a clam at high-water: 
I am being carried towards Fort Wayne in a style never surpa-sed by Casar'f triumphal 
march into Rome. Hurrah for the Toledo and Wabash Railroad ! 

At the invitation of the engineer, I took a ride of twenty miles upon the loco- 
motive. It fairly made my head swim. I could not reconcile my mind to the 
idea that there was no danger; and intimating to the engineer that it would be a 
relief to get where I could not see ahead, I was permitted to crawl back again to 
the caboose. 

I reached Fort Wayne in ample time for the lecture ; and as the committee had 
discreetly kept to themselves the fact of my non-arrival by the regular train, 
probably not a dozen persons were aware of the trouble I had taken to fulfill my 
engagement, till in the course of my lecture, under the head of "perseverance," 1 
recounted my day's adventures, as an illustration of exercising that quality when 
real necessity demanded. The Fort Wayne papers of the next day published 
accounts of "Barnum on a Locomotive," and " A Journey in a Caboose;" and, 
as I always had an eye to advertising, these articles were sent marked to news- 
papers in towns and cities where I was to lecture, and of course were copied — 
thus producing the desired effects, first, of informing the public that the " show- 
man" was coming, and next, assuring the lecture committee that Barnum w. old 
be punctually on hand as advertised, unless prevented by "drcumetan 
which he had no control." 

The managers of railroads running west from Chicago, pretty rigidly enl 
a rule excluding from certain reserved cars, all gentlemen traveling without 
ladies. As I do not smoke I avoided the smoking cars; and as the ladies' ear waa 
sometimes more select and always more comfortable than the other cars. 1 
various expedients to smuggle myself in. If I saw a lady about to enter the 
alone, I followed closely, hoping thus to elude the vigilance of the brakeman, 
who generally acts as door-keeper. But the car Cerberus Is pretty well up to all 
such dodges, and I did not always succeed. One one occasion, seeing a young 
couple, evidently just married, and starting on a bridal tour, about to enter the 
car, I followed closely, but was stopped by the door-keeper, who called <>ut: 

"How many gentlemen are with this lady." 

I have always noticed that young, newly-married people, are very fond of say- 
ing "my husband" and "my wife;" they an* new terms which sound pleasantly 
to the ears of those who utter them; so, in answer to the peremptory inquiry of 
the door-keeper, the bridegroom promptly respond. -d : 


" I am this lady's husband." 

" And I guess you can see by the resemblance between the lady and myself," 
said I to Cerberus, " that 1 am her father." 

The astounded husband and the blushing bride were too much " taken aback " 
to deny their newly-discovered parent, but the brakeman said, as he permitted 
the young couple to pass into the car: 

" We can't pass all creation with one lady." 

" I hope you will not deprive me of the company of my child during the little 
time we can remain together," I said with a demure countenance. The brake- 
man evidently sympathized with the fond "parient" whose feelings were 
sufficiently lacerated at losing his daughter, through her finding a husband, and I 
was permitted to pass. I immediately apologized to the young bride and her hus- 
band, and told them who I was, and my reasons for the assumed paternity, and 
they enjoyed the joke so heartily that they called me "father" during our entire 
journey together. Indeed, the husband privately and slyly hinted to me that 
the first boy should be christened "P. T." 

I fulfilled my entire engagement, which covered the lecturing season, and 
returned to New York greatly pleased with my western tour. Public lecturing 
was by no means a new experience with me; for, apart from my labors in that 
direction in England, and occasional addresses before literary and agricultural 
associations at home, I had been prominently in the field for many years, as a 
lecturer on temperance. My attention was turned to this subject in the following 

In the fall of 1847, while exhibiting General Tom Thumb at Saratoga Springs, 
where the New York State Fair was then being held, I saw so much intoxication 
among men of wealth and intellect, filling the highest positions in society, that I 
began to ask myself the question, What guarantee is there that i" may not become 
a drunkard ? and I forthwith pledged myself at that time never again to partake 
of any kind of spirituous liquors as a beverage. True, I continued to partake of 
wine, for I had been instructed, in my European tour, that this was one of the 
innocent and charming indispensables of fife. I however regarded myself as a 
good temperance man, and soon began to persuade my friends to refrain from the 
intoxicating cup. Seeing need of reform in Bridgeport, I invited my friend, 
the Reverend Doctor E. H. Chapin, to visit us, for the purpose of giving a public 
temperance lecture. I had never heard him on that subject, but I knew that on 
whatever topic he spoke, he was as logical as he was eloquent. 

He lectured in the Baptist church in Bridgeport. His subject was presented in 
three divisions: The liquor-seller, the moderate drinker, and the indifferent man. 
It happened, therefore, that the second, if not the third clause of the subject, had 
a special bearing upon me and my position. The eloquent gentleman overwhelm- 
ingly proved that the so-called respectable liquor-seller, in his splendid saloon or 
hotel bar, and who sold only to " gentlemen," inflicted much greater injury upon 
the community than a dozen common groggeries — which he abundantly illus- 
trated. He then took up the " moderate drinker," and urged that he was the 
great stumbling-block to the temperance reform. He it was, and not the drunk- 
ard in the ditch, that the young man looked at as an example when he took his 
first glass. That when the drunkard was asked to sign the pledge, he would reply, 
" Why should I do so ? What harm can there be in drinking, when such men as 
respectable Mr. A, and moral Mr. B drink wine under their own roof 'I " He 
urged that the higher a man stood in the community, the greater was his influ- 
ence either for good or for evil. He said to the moderate drinker: "Sir, you 


either do or you do not consider it a privation and a sacrifice to give op drinking. 
Which is it ? If you say that you can drink or let it alone, that you can quit it 
forever without considering it a self-denial, then I appeal to yon aa ;i man, to do 
it for the sake of your suffering fellow-beings." He farther argued thai if U 
a self-denial to give up wine-drmking, then certainly the m;ui should stop, fur be 
was in danger of becoming a drunkard. 

What Doctor Chapin said produced a deep impression upon my mind, and, 
a night of anxious thought, I rose in the morning, took my champagne bol 
knocked off their heads, and poured then contents ui«>n the ground. I then called 
upon Doctor Chapin, asked him for the teetotal pledge, and signed it. 1 ! • 
greatly surprised in discovering that I was not already a teetotaler. He sup; 
such was the case, from the fact that 1 had invited him to lectutv, and he little 
thought, at the time of his delivering it, that his argument to the mod 
drinker was at all applicable to me. I felttliat I had now a duty to p er fo rm 
save others, as Iliad been saved, and on the very morning when 1 signed the 
pledge, I obtained over twenty signatures in Bridgeport. I talked temperance to 
all whom I met, and very soon commenced lecturing upon the subject in the 
adjacent towns and villages. I spent the entire winter and spring of l v ~>: 
lecturing free, through my native State, always traveling at my own ex: 
and I was glad to know that I aroused many hundreds, perhaps thousands, to the 
importance of the temperance reform. I also lectured frequently in the cities of 
New York and Philadelphia, as well as in other towns in the neighboring St 

While in Boston with Jenny Lind, I was earnestly solicited to deliver two tem- 
perance lectures in the Tremont Temple, where she gave her concerts. I did 
and though an admission fee was charged for the benefit of a benevolent society, 
the building on each occasion was crowded. In the course of my tour with 
Jenny Lind, I was frequently solicited to lecture on temperance on eve;, 
when she did not sing. I always complied when it was in my power. In this 
way I lectured in Baltimore, Washington, Charleston, New Orleans, Cincinnati, 
St. Louis, and other cities, also in the ladies' saloon of the steamer Lexing- 
ton, on Sunday morning. In August, 1853, I lectured in Cleveland, Ohio, and 
several other towns, and afterwards in Chicago, Illinois, and in Kenosha, 
cousin. An election was to be held in Wisconsin in October, and the friends 
of prohibition in that State solicited my services for the ensuing month, ami I 
could not refuse them. I therefore hastened home to transact some bus 
which required my presence for a few days, and then returned, and lectured <>n 
my way in Toledo, Norwalk, Ohio, and Chicago, Illinois. I made the t«>ur of the 
State of Wisconsin, delivering two free lectures per day, for tour oonsecn tr re 
weeks, to crowded and attentive audit, 

My lecture in New Orleans, when I was in that city, was in the great Ly 
Hah, in St. Charles street, and I lectured by the invitation of Mayor On—man, 
and several other influential gentlemen. The immense hall contained more than 
three thousand auditors, including the m portion of tin- 

Orleans public. I was in capital humor, and had warmed myself into 
state of excitement, feeling that the audience \\a-s with me, While bo the m 
of an argument illustrating the poisonous and destructive nature <>f alool 
the animal economy, some opponent called out, "Howda 
nally or interna 1 !; 

" internally," I replied. 


I have scarcely ever heard more tremendous merriment than that which fol 
lowed this reply, and the applause was so prolonged that it was some minutes 
before I could proceed. 

On the first evening when I lectured in Cleveland, Ohio (it was in the Baptist 
church), I commenced in this wise: " If there are any ladies or gentlemen present 
who have never suffered in consequence of the use of intoxicating drinks as a 
beverage, either directly or in the person of a dear relative or friend, I will thank 
them to rise." A man with a tolerably glowing countenance arose. "Had you 
never a friend who was intemperate ?" I asked. 

" Never ! " was the positive reply. 

A giggle ran through the opposition portion of the audience. "Really, my 
friends," I said, " I feel constrained to make a proposition which I did not antici- 
pate. I am, as you are all aware, a showman, and I am always on the look-out 
for curiosities. This gentleman is a stranger to me, but if he will satisfy me to- 
morrow morning that he is a man of credibility, and that no friend of his was 
ever intemperate, I will be glad to engage him for ten weeks at $200 per week, to 
exhibit him in my American Museum in New York, as the greatest curiosity in 
this country." 

A laugh that was a laugh followed this announcement. 

"They may laugh, but it is a fact," persisted my opponent, with a look of 
dogged tenacity. 

The gentleman still insists that it is a fact," I replied. " I would like, there- 
fore, to make one simple qualification to my offer; I made it on the supposition 
that, at some period of his life, he had friends. Now, if he never had any friends, 
I withdraw my offer; otherwise, I will stick to it." 

This, and the shout of laughter that ensued, was too much for the gentleman, 
and he sat down. I noticed throughout my speech that he paid strict attention, 
and frequently indulged in a hearty laugh. At the close of the lecture he 
approached me, and, extending bis hand, which I readily accepted, he said, " I was 
particularly green in rising to-night. Having once stood up, I was determined 
not to be put down, but your last remark fixed me!" He then complimented 
me very highly on the reasonableness of my arguments, and declared that ever 
afterwards he would be found on the side of temperance. 

I have lectured in Montreal, Canada, and many towns and cities in the United 
States, at my own expense. One of the greatest consolations I now enjoy is that 
of believing I have carried happiness to the bosom of many a family. In the 
course of my fife I have written much for newspapers, on various subjects, and 
always with earnestness, but in none of these have I felt so deep an interest as in 
that of the temperance reform. Were it not for this fact, I should be reluctant 
to mention that, besides numerous articles for the daily and weekly press, I wrott- 
a little tract on "The Liquor Business," which expresses my practical view of 
the use and traffic in intoxicating drinks. In every one of my temperance lee 
tures since the beginning of the year 1869, I have regularly read the following 
report, made by Mr. T. T. Cortis, Overseer of the Poor in Vineland, New Jersey: 

Though we have a population of 10,000 people, for the period of six months no settler or 
citizen of Vineland has required relief at my hands as overseer of the poor. Within sev- 
enty days, there has only been one case among what we call the floating population, at the 
expense of $4.00. During the entire year, there has only been but one indictment, and that 
a trifling case of assault and battery, among our colored population. So few are the fires 
in Vineland, that we have no need of a fire department. There has only been one house 
burnt down in a year, and two slignt fires, which were soon put out. We practically have 
no debt, and our taxes are only one per cent un the valuation. The police expenses of 
Vine'aud amount to $75.00 per year, the sum paid to me ; and our uoor expenses a mere 


trifle. I ascribe this remarkable state of thins-*, so nearly approaching the golden age, to 
the industry of our people, and the absence of lvi:i_r Alcohol. Let me irive you. in contrast 
to this, the state of things in the town from which I came, in New England. The popula- 
tion of the town was 9,500— a little less than that of Vineland It maintained forty liquor 
shops. These kept busy a police judge, city marshal, assistant marshal, four night watch- 
men, six policemen. Fires were almost continual. That small place maintained a paid tire 
department, of four companies, of lorty men each, at an expense of $3,000.00 per annum. I 
belonged to this department for six years, and the iires averaged about one every two 
weeks, and mostly incendiary. The support ot the poor cos; $2,500.00 per annum. The 
debt of the township was $1&i,000. 00. The condition of things in this New England town 
is as favorable in that country as that of many other places where liquor is sold. 

It seems to me that there is an amount of overwhelming testimony and unan- 
swerable argument in this one brief extract, that makes it in itself one of the 
most perfect and powerful temperance lectures ever written. 



My new Museum on Broadway was liberally patronized from the start, bat 1 
felt that still more attractions were necessary in order to insure constant success. 
I therefore made arrangements with the renowned Van Amburgh Menagerie 
Company to unite their entire collection of living wild animals with the Museum. 
The new company was known as the "Bamurn and Van Amburgh Museum and 
Menagerie Company," and as such was chartered by the Connecticut Legislature, 
the New York Legislature having refused us a charter unless I would "see" the 
" ring " a thousand dollars' worth, which I declined. I owned forty per cent, and 
the Van Amburgh Company held the remaining sixty per cent, in the new enter- 
prise, which comprehended a large traveling menagerie through the country in 
summer, and the placing of the wild animals in the Museum hi winter. The 
capital of the company was one million of dollars, with the privilege of doubb'ng 
the amount. As one of the conditions of the new arrangement, it was stipulated 
that I should withdraw from all active personal attention to the Museum, but 
should permit my name to be announced as General Manager, and I was also 
elected President of the company. 

Meanwhile, immense additions were made to the curiosity departments of the 
new Museum. Every penny of the profits of this Museum and of the two 
immense traveling menageries of wild animals was expended in procuring addi- 
tional attractions for our patrons. Among other valuable novelties introduced in 
this establishment was the famous collection made by the renowned lion-slayer 
Gordon Cummings. This was purchased for me by my faithful friend, Mr. 
George A. Wells, who was then traveling in Great Britain with General Tom 
Thumb. The collection consisted of many hundreds of skins, tusks, heads and 
skeletons of nearly every species of African animal, including numerous rare 
specimens never before exhibited on this continent. It was a great Museum in 
itself, and as such had attracted much attention in London and elsewhere, but it 
was a mere addition to our Museum and Menagerie; and was exhibited without 
extra charge for admission. 

The monthly returns made to the United States Collector of Internal Revenue 
for the district, showed that our receipts were larger than those of Wallack's 
Theater, Niblo's Garden, or any other theater or place of amusement in New 
York, or in America. 

Anxious to gather curiosities from every quarter of the globe, I sent Mr. 
John Greenwood, junior (who went for me to the isle of Cyprus and to Constan- 
tinople, in 1864), on the "Quaker City" excursion, which left New York, June 
8, 1867, and returned in the following November. During his absence Mr. Green- 
wood traveled 17,735 miles, and brought back several interesting relics from the 
Holy Land, which were duly deposited in the Museum. 

Very soon after entering upon the premises, I built a new and larger lecture 
room, which was one of the most commodious and complete theaters in New 
York, and I largely increased the dramatic company. Our collection swelled so 



rapidly that we were obliged to extend our premises by the addition of another 
building, forty by one hundred feet, adjoining the Museum. This addition gave 
us several new halls, which were speedily filled with curiosities. The rapid 
expansion of the establishment, and the immense interest excited in the public 
mind led me to consider a plan I had long contemplated, of taking some decided 
steps towards the foundation of a great free institution, which should be similar 
to and in some respects superior to the British Museum in London. " The Bar- 
num and Van Amburgh Museum and Menagerie Company," chartered with a 
capital of $2,000,000 had, in addition to the New York establishment, thirty acres 
of land in Bridgeport, whereon it was proposed to erect suitable buildings and 
glass and wire edifices for breeding and acclimating rare ariimalsand birds, and 
training such of them as were fit for public performances. In time, a new build ' 
ing in New York, covering a whole square, and farther up town, would be needed 
for the mammoth exhibition, and I was not without hopes that I might be the 
means of establishing permanently in the city an extensive zoological garden. 

It was also my intention ultimately to make my Museum the nucleus of a great 
free national institution. "When the American Museum was burned, and I turned 
my attention to the collection of fresh curiosities, I felt that I needed other assist- 
ance than that of my own agents in America and Europe. It occurred to me 
that if our government representatives abroad would but use their influence to 
secure curiosities in the respective countries to which they were delegated, a free 
public Museum might at once be begun in New York, and I proposed to offer a 
part of my own establishment rent-free for the deposit and exhibition of such 
rarities as might be collected in this way. Accordingly, a week after the destruc- 
tion of the American Museum, a memorial was addressed to the President of the 
United States, asking him to give his sanction to the new effort to furnish the 
means of useful information and wholesome amusement, and to give such instruc- 
tions to public officers abroad as would enable them, without any conflict with 
their legitimate duties, to give efficiency to this truly national movement for the 
advancement of the public good, without cost to the government. This memorial 
was dated July 20, I860, and was signed by Messrs. E. D. Morgan, Moses Taylor, 
Abram Wakeinan, Simeon Draper, Moses H. Grinnell, Stephen Emapp, Benjamin 
R, Winthrop, Charles Gould, Wni. C. Bryant, James Wadsworth, Tunis W. 
Quick, John A. Pitkin, Willis Gaylord, Prosper M. Wetmore, Henry Ward 
Beecher, and Horace Greeley. This memorial was in due time presented, and 
was indorsed as follows: 

" Executive Mansion, Washington, D. C, Ap?-il 27, 1866. 
The purpose set forth in this Memorial is highly approved and commended, and our 
Ministers, Consuls and commercial agents are requested to give whatever influence in car- 
rying out the object within stated they may deem compatible with the duties of their 
respective positions, and not inconsistent with the public interests. 

Andrew Johnson." 

1 went to Washington myself, and had interviews with the President, Secre- 
taries Seward, McCulloch and Welles, and also with Assistant Secretary of the 
Navy, G. V. Fox, who gave me several muskets and other "rebel trophies." 
During mj' stay at the capital I had a pleasant interview with General Grant, 
who told me he had lately visited my Museum with one of his sons, and had been 
greatly gratified. Upon my mentioning, among other projects, that I had an 
idea of collecting the hats of distinguished individuals, he at once offered to send 
an orderly for the hat he had worn during his principal campaigns. All these 


gentlemen cordially approved of my plan for the establishment of a National 
Museum in New York. 

But before this plan could be put into effective operation, an event occurred 
which is now to be narrated: The winter of 1867-68 was one of the coldest that 
had been known for years, and some thirty severe snow-storms occurred during 
the season. On Tuesday morning, March 3d, 1868, it was bitter cold. A heavy 
body of snow was on the ground, and, as I sat at the breakfast table with my 
wife and an esteemed lady guest, the wife of my excellent friend, Rev. A. C. 
Thomas, I read aloud the general news from the morning papers* Leisurely 
turning to the local columns, I said, "Hallo ! Barnum's Museum is burned." 
"Yes, said my wife, with an incredulous smile, "I suspect it is." 
"It is a fact," said I, "just listen; 'Barnum's Museum totally destroyed by 
fire.' " 

This was read so coolly, and I showed so little excitement, that both of the 
ladies supposed I was joking. My wife simply remarked: 

"Yes, it was totally destroyed two years ago, but Barnum built another one." 

"Yes, and that is burned," I replied; "now listen," and I proceeded very 

calmly to read the account of the fire. Mrs. Thomas, still believing from my 

m a nn er that it was a joke, stole slyly behind my chair, and looking over my 

shoulder at the newspaper, she exclaimed : 

" Why, Mrs. Barnum, the Museum is really bumed. Here is the whole account 
of it in this morning's paper." 

" Of course it is," I remarked, with a smile, " how coidd you think I could joke 
on such a serious subject ! " 

The papers of the following morning contained full accounts of the fire ; and 
editorial writers, while manifesting much sympathy for the proprietors, also 
expressed profound regret that so magnificent a collection, especially in the 
zoological department, should be lost to the city. 

The cold was so intense that the water froze almost as soon as it left the hose of 
the fire engines; and when at last everything was destroyed, except the front 
granite wall of the Museum building, that and the ladder, signs, and lamp-posts 
in front, were covered in a gorgeous frame-work of transparent ice, which made 
it altogether one of the most picturesque scenes imaginable. Thousands of per- 
sons congregated daily in that locality in order to get a view of the magnificent 
ruins. By moonlight, the ice-coated ruins were still more sublime; and for many 
days and nights the old Museum was "the observed of all observers," and pho- 
tographs were taken by several artists.* 

When the Museum was burnt, I was nearly ready to bring out a new spectacle, 
for which a very large, extra company had been engaged, and on which a con- 
siderable sum of money had been expended hi scenery, properties, costumes, and 
especially in enlarging the stage. I had expended altogether, some §78,000 in 
building the new lecture-room, and in refitting the saloons. The curiosities were 
inventoried by the manager, Mr. Ferguson, at §288,000. I bought the real estate 
only a little while before the fire, for §460,000, and there was an insurance on the 
whole of $160,000; and in June, 1868, I sold the lots on which the building stood, 
for $432,000. The cause of the fire was a defective flue in the restaurant in the 
basement of the building. 

Thus, by the destruction of Iranistan and two Museums, about a million of 
dollars' worth of my property had been destroyed by fire, and I was not now 
long in making up my mhid to follow Mr. Greeley's advice on a former occasion, 
to " take this fire as a notice to quit, and go a-fishing/' 

* See Illustration, paga 264. 


I dissolved with the Van Amburgh Company, and sold out to them all my 
interest in the personal property of the concern. 9 I was beset on every side to 
start another Museum, and men of capital offered to raise a million of dollars, if 
necessary, for that purpose, provided I would undertake its management ; but I 
felt that I had enough to live on, and I earnestly believed the doctrine laid down 
in my lecture on " Money-Getting," in regard to the danger of leaving too much 
property to children. 

As I now had something like real leisure at my disposal, in the summer of 1868 
I made my third visit to the White Mountains. To me, the locality and scene 
are ever fresh and ever wonderful. From the top of Mount Washington, one 
can see, on every side within a radius of forty miles, peaks piled on peaks, with 
smiling valleys here and there between, and, on a very clear day, the Atlantic 
Ocean, off Portland, Maine, is distinctly visible — sixty miles away. Beauty, 
grandeur, sublimity, and the satisfaction of almost every sense combine to remind 
one of the ejaculation of that devout English soul who exclaims: " Look around 
with pleasure, and upward with gratitude." 

At the Profile House, near the Notch, in the Franconia range, I met many 
acquaintances, some of whom had been there with their families for several 
weeks. When tired of scenery-hunting and hiU-climbing, and thrown entirely 
upon their own resources, they had invented a "sell" which they perpetrated 
upon every new-comer. Naturally enough, as I was considered a capital subject 
for their fun, before I had been there half an hour they had made all the arrange- 
ments to take me in. The " sell " consisted in getting up a foot-race in which all 
were to join, and at the word " go " the contestants were to start and run across 
the open space in front of the hotel to a fence opposite, while the last man who 
should touch the rail must treat the crowd. Of course, no one touched the rail 
at all, except the victim. I suspected no trick, but tried to avoid the race, urging 
in excuse, that I was too old, too corpulent, and, besides, as they knew, I was a 
teetotaler and would not drink their liquor. 

" Oh, drink lemonade, if you like," they said, "but no backing out; and as for 
corpulence, here is Stephen, our old stage-driver, who weighs three hundred, and 
he shall run with the rest." 

And, in good truth, Stephen, in a warm day especially, would be likely to 
" run " with the best of them ; but I did not know then that Stephen was the stool- 
pigeon whom they kept to entrap unwary and verdant youths like myself ; so, 
looking at his portly form, I at once agreed that if Stephen ran I would, as 1 
knew that, for a stout man, I was pretty quick on my feet. Accordingly at the 
word "go," I started and ran as if the traditional enemy of mankind were in 
me or after me, but, before I had accomplished half the distance, I wondered why 
at least, one or two of the crowd had not outstripped me, for, in fact, Stephen 
was the only one whom I expected to beat. Looking back and at once compre- 
hending the "sell," I decided not to be sold. A correspondent of the New York 
Sun told how I escaped the trick and the penalty, and how I subsequently paid 
off the tricksters, in a letter from which I quote the following : * 

" Barnum threw up bis hands before arriving at the railing, and did not touch it at all I 
It was acknowledged on all sides that the ' biters were bit.' ' But you ran well. 1 said those 
who intended the 'sell.' ' Yes,' replied Barnaul, in high glee. 'I ran better than I did for 
Congress, but I was not green enough to touch the raill ' Of course a roar of laughter 
followed, and the 'sellers ' resolved to try the game the next morning on some other new- 
comer ; but their luck had evidently deserted them, for the next man also ' smelt a rat,' and, 
holding up his hands, refused to touch the rail. The two successive failures dampened the 
ardor of the "seller--," and they relinquished that trick as a bad job. But the way Bar- 
nurn sold nearly the whole crowd of 'sellers/ in detail, on the following afternoon, by the 

* See Illustrition. page 300. 


old 'sliver trick,' was a caution to sore sides. So much laughing In one day was probably 
never before done in that locality. One after another succeeded in extracting from the 
palm of Barnum's hand what each at first supposed was a tormenting 'sliver,' but which 
turned out to be a ' broom splinter ' a foot long which was hidden up B.'s sleeve, except 
the small point which appeared from under the end of his thumb, apparently protruding 
from under the skin of his palm. One ' weak brother ' nearly fainted as he saw come 
forth some twelve inches of what he first supposed was a ' sliver,' but which he was now 
thoroughly convinced was one of the nerves from Barnum's arm. Mr. O'Brien, the Wall 
street banker, was the first victim. When asked what he thought upon seeing such a long 
' sliver ' coming from Barnum's hand, he solemnly replied, ' I thought he was a dead man !' 
It was acknowledged by all that Barnum gave them a world of 'fun,' and that he and his 
friends left the Profile House with flying colors." 



Is the summer of 1868, a lady, who happened to be at that time an inmate of 
my family, upon hearing me say that I supposed we must remove into our sum- 
mer residence on Thursday, because our servants might not like to go on Friday, 

M What nonsense that is ! It is astonishing that some persons are so foolish as 
to think there is any difference in the days. I call it rank heathenism to be so 
superstitious as to think one day is lucky and another unlucky;" and then, in the 
most innocent manner possible, she added : "I would not like to remove on a 
Saturday, myself, for they say people who remove on the last day of the week 
don't stay long." 

Of course this was too refreshing a case of undoubted superstition to be per- 
mitted to pass without a hearty laugh from all who heard it. 

I suppose most of us have certain superstitions, imbibed in our youth, and still 
lurking more or less faintly in our minds. Many would not Like to acknowledge 
that they had any choice whether they commenced a new enterprise on a Friday 
or on a Monday, or whether they first saw the new moon over the right or left 
shoulder. And yet, perhaps, a large portion of these same persons will be apt 
to observe it when they happen to do anything which popular superstition calls 
"unlucky." It is a common occurrence with many to immediately make a 
secret "wish" if they happen to use the same expression at the same moment 
when a friend with whom they are conversing makes it ; nevertheless, these per- 
sons would protest against being considered superstitious — indeed, probably they 
are not so in the full meaning of the word. 

Several years ago, an old lady, who was a guest at my house, remarked on a 
rainy Sunday: 

"This is the first Sunday in the month, and now it will rain every Sunday in 
the month; that is a sign which never fails, for I have noticed it many a time." 

"Well," I remarked, smiling, "watch closely this time, and if it rains on the 
next three Sundays, I will give you a new silk dress." 

She was in high glee, and replied: 

"Well, you have lost that dress, as sure as you are born." 

The following Sunday it did, indeed, rain. 

" Ah, ha I" exclaimed the old lady, "what did I tell you ? I knew it would 

I smiled, and said, " all right, watch for next Sunday." 

And surely enough, the next Sunday it did rain, harder than on either of the 
preceding Sundays. 

"Now, what do you think?" said the old lady, solemnly. "I tell you that 
sign never fails. It won't do to doubt the ways of Providence," she added with 
a sigh, "for His ways are mysterious and past finding out." 

The following Sunday, the sun rose in a cloudless sky, and not the slightest 
appearance of rain was manifested through the day. The old lady was greatly 
disappointed, and did not like to hear any allusion to the subject: but two years 



afterwards, when she was once more my guest, it again happened to rain on the 
first Sunday in the month, and I heard her solemnly predict that it would, every 
succeeding Sunday in the month, "for," she remarked, "it is a sign that never 
fails." She had forgotten the failure of two years before; indeed, the contin- 
uance and prevalence of many popular superstitions is due to the fact that we 
notice the " sign" when it happens to be verified, and do not observe it, or we 
forget it, when it fails. Many persons are exceedingly superstitious in regard to 
the number " thirteen." This is particularly the case, I have noticed, in Catholic 
countries I have visited, and I have been told that superstition originated in the 
fact of a thirteenth apostle having been chosen, on account of the treachery of 
Judas. At any rate, I have known numbers of French persons who had quite a 
horror of this fatal number. Once I knew a French lady, who had taken pas- 
sage in an ocean steamer, and who, on going aboard, and finding her assigned 
state-room to be " No. 13," insisted upon it that she would not sail in the ship at 
all; she had rather forfeit her passage money, though, finally, she was persuaded 
to take another room. And a great many people, French, English and Amer- 
ican, will not undertake any important enterprise on the thirteenth day of the 
month, nor sit at table with a full complement of thirteen persons. With regard 
to this number, to which so many superstitions cling, I have some interesting 
experiences and curious coincidences, which are worth relating, as a part of my 
personal history. 

When I was first in England with General Tom Thumb, I well remember din- 
ing one Christmas day with my friends, the Brettells, in St. James's Palace, in 
London. Just before the dinner was finished (it is a wonder it was not noticed 
before) it was discovered that the number at table was exactly thirteen. 

"How very unfortunate," remarked one of the guests; "I would not have 
dined under such circumstances for any consideration, had I known it ! " 

"Nor I either," seriously remarked another guest. 

"Do you really suppose there is any truth in the old superstition on that 
subject?" I asked. 

" Truth ! " solemnly replied an old lady. " Truth I Why I myself have known 
three instances, and have heard of scores of others, where thirteen persons have 
eaten at the same table, and in every case one of the number died before the year 
was out ! " 

This assertion, made with so much earnestness, evidently affected several of the 
guests, whose nerves were easily excited. I can truthfully state, however, that 
I dined at the Palace again the following Christmas, and although there were 
seventeen persons present, every one of the original thirteen who dined there the 
preceding Christmas, was among this number, and all in good health; although, 
of course, it would have been nothing very remarkable if one had happened to 
have died during the last twelve months. 

While I was on my Western lecturing tour in 1866, long before I got out of Illinois, 
1 began to observe that at the various hotels where I stopped my room very fre- 
quently was number thirteen. Indeed, it seemed as if this number turned up to me 
as often as four times per week, and so, before many days, I almost expected to 
have that number set down to my name wherever I signed it upon the register of 
the hotel. Still, I laughed to myself, at what I was convinced was simply a coin- 
cidence. On one occasion I was traveling from Clinton to Mount Vernon, Iowa, 
and was to lecture in the college of the latter place that evening. Ordinarily, 
I should have arrived at two o'clock p. m. ; but owing to an accident which had 
occurred to the train from the West, the conductor informed me that our arrival in 


Mount Vernon would probably be delayed until after seven o'clock. I telegraphed 
that fact to the committee who were expecting me, and told them to be patient. 

When we had arrived within ten miles of that town it was dark. I sat rather 
moodily in the car, w i shing the train would "hurry up ; " and happening, for some 
cause to look bacK over my left shoulder, I discovered the new moon through the 
window. This omen struck me as a coincident addition to my ill-luck, and 
with a pleasant chuckle I muttered to myself, "Well, I hope I won't get room 
number thirteen to-night, for that will be adding insult to injury." 

I reached Mount Vernon a few minutes before eight, and was met at the depot 
by the committee, who took me in a carriage and hurried to the Ballard House. 
The committee told me the hall in the college was already crowded, and they 
hoped I would defer taking tea until after the lecture. I informed them that I 
would gladly do so, but simply wished to run to my room a moment for a wash. 
While wiping my face I happened to think about the new room, and at once 
stepped outside of my bed-room door to look at the number. It was " number 

After the lecture I took tea, aud I confess that I began to think " number thir 
teen " looked a little ominous. There I was, many hundreds of miles from my 
family; I left my wife sick, and I began to ask myself, does " number thirteen " 
portend anything in particular ? Without feeling willing even now to acknowl- 
edge that I felt much apprehension on the subject, I must say I began to take a 
serious view of things in general. 

I mentioned the coincidence of my luck in so often having " number thirteen " 
assigned to me to Mr. Ballard, the proprietor of the hotel, giving him all the 
particulars to date. 

"I will give you another room, if you prefer it," said Mr. Ballard. 

"No, I thank you," I replied with a semi-serious smile; "if it is fate, I will 
take it as it comes; and if it means anything I shall probably find it out in time. 
That same night, before retiring to rest, I wrote a letter to a clerical friend, then 
residing in Bridgeport, telling him all my experiences in regard to "number 
thirteen." I said to him in closing: "Don't laugh at me for being superstitious, 
for I hardly feel so; I think it is simply a series of 'coincidences' which appear 
the more strange because I am sure to notice eveiy one that occurs. " Ten days 
afterwards I received an answer from my reverend friend, in which he cheerfully 
said: "It's all right: go ahead and get 'number thirteen' as often as you can. 
It is a lucky number," and he added: 

" Unbelieving and ungrateful man! What is thirteen but the traditional 'baker's dozen,' 
indicating 'good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over,' as illustrated 
in your triumphal lecturing tour ? By all means insist upon having room number thirteen 
at every hotel; and if the guests at any meal be less than that charmed complement, send 
out and compel somebody to come in. 

" What do you say respecting the Thirteen Colonies? Any ill-luck in the number? Was 
the patriarch Jacob afraid of it when he adopted Ephraim and Manasseh, the two sons of 
Joseph, so as to complete the magic circle of thirteen? 

"Do yon not know that chapter thirteen of First Corinthians is the grandest in the Bible, 
with verse thirteen as the culmination of all religious thought? And canyon read verse 
thirteen of the fifth chapter of Revelation without the highest rapture?" 

But my clerical friend had not heard of a certain curious circumstance which 
occurred to me after I had mailed my letter to him and before I received his 

On leaving Mount Vernon for Cedar Rapids the next morning, the landlord, 
Mr. Ballard, drove me to the railroad depot. As I was stepping upon the cars, 
Mr. Ballard shook my hand, and with a laugh exclaimed: " Good-by, friend Bar 


num, I hope you won't get room number thirteen at Cedar Rapids to-day." " 1 
hope not 1 " I replied earnestly, and yet with a smile. I reached Cedar Rapids in 
an horn*. The lecture committee met and took me to the hotel. I entered my 
name, and the landlord immediately called out to the porter: 

" Here, John, take Mr. Barnum's baggage, and show him to ' number thirteen ?' " 

I confess that when I heard this I was startled. I remarked to the landlord 
that it was certainly very singular, but was nevertheless true, that "number 
thirteen " seemed to be about the only room that I could get in a hotel. 

" We have a large meeting of railroad directors here at present," he replied, 
"and 'number thirteen' is the only room unoccupied in my house." 

I proceeded to the room, and immediately wrote to Mr. Ballard at Mount Ver- 
non, assuring him that my letter was written in "number thirteen," and that 
this was the only room I could get in the hotel. During the remainder of my 
journey, I was put into "number thirteen" so often in the various hotels at 
which I stopped that it came to be quite a matter of course, though occasionally 
I was fortunate enough to secure some other number. Upon returning to New 
York, I related the foregoing adventures to my family, and told them I was 
really half afraid of " number thirteen. " Soon afterwards, I telegraphed to my 
daughter who was boarding at the Atlantic House in Bridgeport, asking her to 
engage a room for me to lodge there the next night, on my way to Boston. " Mr. 
Hale," said she to the landlord, "father is coming up to-day; will you please 
reserve him a comfortable room?" "Certainly," replied Mr. Hale, and he 
instantly ordered a fire in "room thirteen ! " I went to Boston and proceeded to 
Lewiston, Maine, and thence to Lawrence, Massachusetts, and the hotel register 
there has my name booked for " number thirteen." 

My experience with this number has by no means been confined to apartments. 
In 1867 a church in Bridgeport wanted to raise several thousand dollars in order 
to get freed from debt. I subscribed one thousand dollars, by aid of which they 
assured me they would certainly raise enough to pay off the debt. A few weeks 
subsequently, however, one of the "brethren" wrote me that they were still six 
hundred dollars short, with but little prospect of getting it. I replied that I 
would pay one-half of the sum required. The brother soon afterwards wrote me 
that he had obtained the other half, and I might forward him my subscription of 
" thirteen " hundred dollars. During the same season I attended a fair in Franklin 
HalL Bridgeport, given by a temperance organization. Two of my little grand- 
daughters accompanied me, and, telling them to select what articles they desired, 
I paid the bilL twelve dollars and fifty cents. "Whereupon I said to the children, 
"I am glad you did not make it thirteen dollars, and I will expend no more 
here to-night." We sat awhile listening to the music, and finally started for 
home, and, as we were going, a lady at one of the stands near the door, called 
out : "Mr. Barnum, you have not patronized me. Please take a chance in my 
lottery." " Certainly," I replied ; " give me a ticket." I paid her the price (fifty 
cents), and after I arrived home, I discovered that in spite of my expressed 
determination to the contrary, I had expended exactly "thirteen" dollars ! 

I invited a few friends to a "clam-bake" in the summer of 1868, and, being 
determined the party should not be thirteen, I invited fifteen, and they all agreed 
to go. Of course, one man and his wife were "disappointed," and could not go-^ 
and my party numbered thirteen. At Christmas, in the same year, my children 
and grandchildren dined with me, and finding, on "counting noses," that they 
would number the inevitable thirteen, I expressly arranged to have a high chair 
placed at the table, and my youngest grandchild, seventeen months old, was 


placed In it, so that we should number fourteen. After the dinner was over, we 
discovered that my son-in-law, Thompson, had been detained down town, and the 
number at dinner table, notwithstanding my extra precautions, was exactly 

Thirteen was certainly an ominous number to me in 1865, for on the thirteenth 
day of July, the American Museum was burned to the ground, while the thir- 
teenth day of November saw the opening of " Barnum's New American Museum," 
which was also subsequently destroyed by fire. 

Having concluded this veritable history of superstitious coincidences in regard 
to thirteen, I read it to a clerical friend, who happened to be present ; and after 
reading the manuscript, I paged it, when my friend and I were a little startled to 
find that the pages numbered exactly thirteen. 



From the time when I first settled in Bridgeport, and turned my attention to 
opening and beautifying new avenues, and doing whatever lay in my power to 
extend and improve that charming city, I was exceedingly anxious that public 
parks should be established, especially one where good drive-ways, and an oppor- 
tunity for the display of the many fine equipages for which Bridgeport is cele- 
brated, could be afforded. Mr. Noble and I began the movement by presenting 
to the city the beautiful ground in East Bridgeport now known as Washington 
Park — a most attractive promenade and breathing-place, and a continual resort 
for citizens on both sides of the river, particularly in the summer evenings, when 
one of the city bands is an additional attraction to the pleasant spot. Thus 
our city was far in advance of Bridgeport proper in providing a prime necessity 
for the health and amusement of the people. 

Up to the year 1865, the shores of Bridgeport, west of the public wharves, and 
washed by the waters of Long Island Sound, was inaccessible to carriages, or 
even to horsemen, and almost impossible for pedestrianism. The shore edge, in 
fact, was strewn with rocks and boulders, which made it, like "Jordan" in the 
song, an exceedingly "hard road to travel." A narrow lane reaching down to 
the shore enabled parties to drive near to the water for the purpose of clamming, 
and occasionally bathing ; but it was all claimed as private property by the land 
proprietors, whose farms extended down to the water's edge. On several occa- 
sions, at low tide, I endeavored to ride along the shore on horseback, for the 
purpose of examining "the lay of the land," in the hope of finding it feasible to 
get a public drive along the water's edge. On one occasion, in 1863, I succeeded 
in getting my horse around from the foot of Broad street, in Bridgeport, to a 
lane over the Fairfield line, a few rods west of "Iranistan avenue," a grand 
street which I have since opened at my own expense, and through my own land. 
From the observations I made that day, I was satisfied that a most lovely park 
and public drive might be, and ought to be opened along the whole water-front 
as far as the western boundary fine of Bridgeport, and even extending over 
the Fairfield line. 

Foreseeing that in a few years such an improvement would be too late, and 
having in mind the failure of the attempt in 1850 to provide a park for the 
people of Bridgeport, I immediately began to agitate the subject in the Bridge- 
port papers, and also in daily conversations with such of my fellow-citizens as I 
thought would take an earnest and immediate interest in the enterprise. I urged 
that such an improvement would increase the taxable value of property in that 
vicinity many thousands of dollars, and thus enrich the city treasury; that it 
would improve the value of real estate generally, in the city ; that it would be 
an additional attraction to strangers who came to spend the summer with us, and 
to those who might be induced from other considerations to mall^the city their 
permanent residence; that the improvement would throw into market some of 

* See Illustration, page 276. 



the most beautiful building sites that could be found anywhere in Connecticut ; 
and I dwelt upon the absurdity, almost criminality, that a beautiful city like 
Bridgeport, lying on the shore of a broad expanse of salt water, should so cage 
itself in, that not an inhabitant could approach the beach. With these and like 
arguments and entreaties, I plied the people day in and day out, till some of 
them began to be familiarized with the idea that a public park close upon the 
shore of the Sound, was at least a possible if not probable thing. 

But certain " conservatives, " as they are called, said: "Barnum is a hair- 
brained fellow, who thinks he can open and people a New York Broadway 
through a Connecticut wilderness ;" and the "old fogies" added: "Yes, he is 
trying to start another chestnut-wood fire for the city to blow forever ; but the 
city or town of Bridgeport will not pay out money to lay out or to purchase 
public parks. If people want to see green grass and trees, they have only to Wcdk 
or drive half a mile either way from the city limits, and they will come to farms 
where they can see either, or both, for nothing ; and, if they are anxious to see 
salt water, and to get a breath of the Sound breeze, they can take boats at the 
wharves, and sail or row till they are entirely satisfied" 

Thus talked the conservatives and the "old fogies." who, unhappily, even if 
they are in a minority, are always a force in all communities. I soon saw that it 
was of no use to expect to get the city to pay for a park. The next thing was to 
see if the land could not be procured free of charge, or at a nominal cost, pro- 
vided the city would improve and maintain it as a public park. I approached the 
farmers who owned the land lying immediately upon the shore, and tried to con- 
vince them that, if they would give the city, free, a deep slip next to the water, 
to be used as a public park, it would increase in value the rest of their land so 
much as to make it a profitable operation for them. But it was like beating 
against the wind. They were " not so stupid as to think that they could become 
gainers by giving away then* property." Such trials of patience as I underwent 
in a twelvemonth, in the endeavor to carry this point, few persons who have 
not undertaken like almost hopeless labor, can comprehend. At last, I enlisted 
the attention of Messrs. Nathaniel Wheeler, James Loom is, Francis Ives, Frede- 
rick Wood, and a few more gentlemen, and persuaded them to walk with me 
over the ground, which to me seemed in every way practicable for a park. These 
gentlemen, who were men of taste, as well as of enterprise and public spirit, 
very soon coincided in my ideas as to the feasibility of the plan and the advan- 
tages of the site ; and some of them went with me to talk with the land-owners, 
adding their own pleas to the arguments I had already advanced. After much 
pressing and persuading, we got the terms upon which the proprietors would give 
a portion and sell another portion of their land, which fronted on the water, pro- 
vided the land thus disposed of, should forever be appropriated to the purposes 
of a public park. But, unfortunately, a part of the land it was desirable to 
include, was the small Mallett farm, of some thirty acres, then belonging to an 
unsettled estate, and neither the administrator nor the heirs could or would give 
away a rod of it. But the whole farcn was for sale — and, to overcome the diffi- 
culty in the way of its transfer for the public benefit, I bought it for about 
$12,000, and then presented the required front to the park. I did not want this 
land or any portion of it, for my own purposes or profit, and I offered a thou- 
sand dollars to any one who would take my place in the transaction ; but no one 
accepted, and I was quite willing to contribute so much of the land as was needed 
for so noble an object. Indeed, besides this, I gave $1,400 towards purchasing 
other land and improving the park ; and, after months of persistent and persona] 


effort, 1 succeeded in raising, by private subscription, the sum necessary to 
secure the land needed. This was duly paid for, deeded to, and accepted by the 
city, and I had the pleasure of naming this new and great public improvement, 
"Sea-side Park." 

Public journals are generally exponents of public opinion ; and how the people 
viewed the new purchase, now their own property, may be judged by the fol- 
lowing extracts from the leading local newspapers, when the land for the new 
enterprise was finally secured : 


[From the " Bridgeport Standard,'" August 21, 1865.] 

Bridgeport has taken another broad stride of which she may well be proud. The Sea- 
side Park is a fixed fact. Yesterday Messrs. P. T. Barnum, Captain John Brooks. Mr. 
George Bailey, Captain Burr Knapp, and Henry Wheeler generously donated to this city 
sufficient land for the Park, with the exception of seven or eisht acres, which have been 
purchased by private subscriptions. Last night the Common Council appointed excellent 
Park Commissioners, and work on the sea-wall and the avenues surrounding the Park will 
be commenced at once. Besides securing the most lovely location for a park to be found 
between New York and Boston, which for all time will be a source of pride to our city and 
State, there is no estimating the pecuniary advantage which this great improvement will 
eventually prove to our citizens. Plans are on foot and enterprises are agitated in regard 
to a park hotel, sea-side cottages, horse railroad branch, and other features which, when 
consummated, will serve to amaze our citizens to think that such a delightful sea-side 
frontage had been permitted to lie so long unimproved. To Mr. P. T. Barnum. we believe, 
is awarded the credit of originating this' beautiful improvement, and certainly to his untir- 
ing, constant and persevering personal efforts are we indebted for its being finally consum- 
mated. Hon. James C. Loomis was the first man who heartily joined with Barnum in 
pressing the plan of the sea-side park upon the attention of our citizens, but it is due to 
our citizens themselves to say that, with an extraordinary unanimity, they have not only 
voted to appropriate $10,000 from the city treasury to making the avenues around the Park, 
and otherwise improving it, but they have also generously'aided by private contributions 
m purchasing such land as was not freely given for the Park. 

Thus was my long-cherished plan at length fulfilled ; nor did my efforts end 
Here, for I aided and advised in all important matters in the laying out and pro- 
gress of the new park ; and in July, 1869, I gave to the city several acres of land, 
worth, at the lowest valuation, §5,000, which were added to and included in this 
public pleasure-ground, and now make the west end of the park. 

At the beginning, the park on paper and the park in reality, were two quite 
different things. The inaccessibility of the site was remedied by approaches 
which permitted the hundreds of workmen to begin to grade the grounds, and to 
lay out the walks and drives. The rocks and boulders over which I had more 
than once attempted to make my way on foot and on horseback, were devoted to 
the building of a substantial sea-wall under the able superintendence of Mr. 
David "W. Sherwood. Paths were opened, shade-trees were planted ; and for- 
tunately there was, in the very center of the ground, a beautiful grove of full 
growth, which is one of the most attractive features of this now charming spot ; 
and a broad and magnificent drive follows the curves of the shore and encircles 
the entire park. A large covered music-stand has been erected ; and on a rising 
piece of ground has been built a substantial Soldiers' Monument. 

The branch horse railroad already reaches one of the main entrances, and 
brings down crowds of people every day and evening, and especially on the 
evenings in which the band plays. At such times the avenues are not only 
thronged with superb equipages and crowds of people, but the whole harbor is 
alive with row-boats, sail-boats and yachts. The views on all sides are charming. 
In the rear is the city, with its roofs and spires ; Black Rock and Stafford lights 


are in plain sight ; to the eastward and southward stretches " Old Long Island's 
sea-girt shore ; " and between lies the broad expanse of the salt water, with its 
ever " fresh " breezes, and the perpetual panorama of sails and steamers. I do not 
believe that a million dollars, to-day, would compensate the city of Bridgeport 
for the loss of what is confessed to be the most delightful public pleasure-ground 
between New York and Boston. 



When I first selected Bridgeport as a permanent residence for my family, its 
nearness to New York, and the facilities for daily transit to and from the 
metropolis were present and partial considerations only in the general advantages 
the location seemed to offer. Nowhere, in all my travels in America and abroad, 
had I seen a city whose very position presented so many and varied attractions. 
Situated on Long Island Sound, with that vast water-view in front, and on every 
other side a beautiful and fertile country with every variety of inland scenery, 
and charming drives which led through valleys rich with well-cultivated farms, 
and over bills thick- wooded with far-stretching forests of primeval growth — all 
these natural attractions appeared to me only so many aids to the advancement 
the beautiful and busy city might attain, if public spirit, enterprise and money 
grasped and improved the opportunities the locality itself extended. I saw that 
what Nature had so freely lavished must be supplemented by yet more liberal 

Consequently, and quite naturally, when I projected and established my first 
residence in Bridgeport, I was exceedingly desirous that all the surroundings of 
Iranistan should accord with the beauty and completeness of that place. I was 
never a victim to that mania which possesses many men of even moderate means 
to " own everything that joins them," and I knew that Iranistan would so increase 
the value of surrounding property that none but first-class residences would be 
possible in the vicinity. But there was other work to do, which, while affording 
advantageous approaches to my property, would at the same time be a lasting 
benefit to the public ; and so I opened Iranistan Avenue, and other broad and 
beautiful streets, through land which I freely purchased, and as freely gave to 
the public, and these highways are now the most convenient as well as charming 
in the city. 

To have opened all these new avenues, in their entire length, at my own cost, 
and through my own ground, would have required a confirmation of Miss Lavi- 
nia Warren's opinion, that what little of the city of Bridgeport and the adjacent 
town of Fairfield was not owned by General Tom Thumb, belonged to P. T. 
Barnum. Everywhere through my own lands I laid out and threw open public 
streets, and on both sides of every avenue I laid out and planted a profusion of 
elms and other trees. In this way, I have opened miles of new streets, and have 
planted thousands of shade-trees in Bridgeport ; for I think there is much wisdom 
in the advice of the Laird of Dumbiedikes, in Scott's " Heart of Mid-Lothian," who 
sensibly says : " When ye hae naething else to do, ye may be aye sticking in a 
tree ; it will be growing when ye're sleeping." But, in establishing new streets, 
too often, when I had gone through my own land, the project came literally to an 
end ; some "old fogy" blocked the way— my way, his own way, and the high- 
way — and all I could do would be to jump over his field, and continue my new 

* See Illustration, page 288. 



street through land I might own on the other side, till I reached the desired fcermi- 
uus in the end or continuation of some other street ; or till, unhappily, I came 
to a dead stand-still at the ground of some other "old fogy," who, like the 
original owners of what is now the shore-front of Sea-side Park, " did not believe 
there was money to be made by giving away their property." 

Conservatism may be a good thing in the State, or in the church, but it is fatal 
to the growth of cities ; and the conservative notions of old fogies make them 
indifferent to the requirements which a very few years in the future will compel, 
and blind to their own best interests. Such men never look beyond the length of 
their noses, and consider every investment a dead loss unless they can get the 
sixpence profit into their pockets before they go to bed. My own long training 
and experience as a manager impelled me to carry into such private enterprises 
as the purchase of real estate that best and most essential managerial quality of 
instantly deciding, not only whether a venture was worth undertaking, but what, 
all things considered, that venture would result in. Almost any man can see 
how a thing will begin, but not every man is gifted with the foresight to see how 
it will end, or how, with the proper effort, it may be made to end. In East 
Bridgeport, where we had no " conservatives " to contend with, we were only a 
few years in turning almost tenantless farms into a populous and prosperous city. 
On the other side of the river, while the opening of new avenues, the planting of 
shade-trees, and the building of many houses, have afforded me the highest pleas- 
ures of my life, I confess that not a few of my greatest annoyances have been 
occasioned by the opposition of those who seem to be content to simply vegetate 
through their existence, and who looked upon me as a restless, reckless innovator, 
because I was trying to remove the moss from everything around them, and even 
from their own eyes. 

In the summer of 1867, the health of my wife continuing to decline, her physi- 
cian directed that she should remove nearer to the sea-shore. 

Lindencrcft was sold July 1, 1867, and we immediately removed for a summer's 
sojourn to a small farm-house adjoining Sea-side Park. During the hot days of 
the next three months we found the delightful sea-breeze so bracing and refresh- 
ing that the season passed like a happy dream, and we resolved that our future 
summers should be spent on the very shore of Long Island Sound. I did not, 
however, perfect my arrangements in time to prepare my own summer residence 
for the ensuing season ; and during the hot months of 1868, we resided in a new 
and very pretty house I had just completed on State street, in Bridgeport, and 
which I subsequently sold, as I intended doing when I built it. But, towards the 
end of the summer, I added by purchase to the Mallett farm, adjoining Sea-side 
Park, a large and beautiful hickory grove, which seemed to be all that was 
needed to make the site exactly what I desired for a summer residence. 

But there was a vast deal to do in grading and preparing the ground, in open- 
ing new streets and avenues as approaches to the property, and in setting out 
trees near the proposed site of the house; so that ground was not broken for the 
foundation till October. I planned a house which should combine the greatest 
convenience with the highest comfort, keeping in mind always that houses are 
made to live in as well as to look at, and to be " homes " rather than mere resi- 
dences. So the house was made to include abundant room for guests, with 
dressing-rooms and baths to every chamber ; water from the city throughout the 
premises ; gas, manufactured on my own ground ; and that greatest of all com- 
forts, a semi-detached kitchen, so that the smell as well as the secrets of the 
cuisine might be confined to its own locality. The stables and gardens were 


located far from the mansion, on the opposite side of one of the newly opened 
avenues, so that in the immediate vicinity of the house, on either side and before 
both fronts^ stretched large lawns, broken only by the grove, single shade-trees, 
rock-work, walks, flower-beds and drives. The whole scheme* as planned was 
faithfully carried out in less than eight months. The first foundation stone was 
laid in October, 1868 ; and we moved into the completed house in June following, 
in 1869. 

It required a regiment of faithful laborers and mechanics, and a very consider- 
able expenditure of money, to accomplish so much in so short a space of time. 
Those who saw a comparatively barren waste thus suddenly converted to a bloom- 
ing garden, and, by the successful transplanting and judicious placing of very 
large and full-grown forest trees, made to seem like a long-settled place, considered 
the creation of my new summer home almost a work of magic , but there is no 
magic when determination and dollars combine to achieve a work. When we 
moved into this new residence, we formally christened the place ''Waldemere," 
literally, but not so euphoniously, " Waldammeer," " Woods-by-the-Sea, " f or I 
preferred to give this native child of my own conception an American name of 
my own creation. 

On the same estate, and fronting the new avenue I opened between my own 
property and the public park, I built at the same time two beautiful cottages, one 
of which is known as the "Petrel's Nest," and the other, occupied by my eldest 
daughter, Mrs. Thompson, and my youngest daughter, Mrs. Seeley, as a summer 
residence, is called " Wave wood." From the east front of Waldemere, across the 
sloping lawn, and through the reaches of the grove, these cottages are in sight, 
and before the three residences stretches the broad Sound, with nothing to cut 
off the view, and nothing intervening but the western portion of Sea-side Park. 

Having made up my mind to spend seven months of every year in the city, in 
tne summer of 1867, 1 purchased the elegant and most eligibly situated mansion, 
No. 438, Fifth Avenue, corner of Thirty-ninth street, at the crowning point Oi 
Murray Hill, in New York, and moved into it in November. 



Aftkb the destruction by fire of my Museum, March 3d, 1868, I retired from 
business, not knowing how utterly fruitless it is to attempt to chain down energies 
peculiar to my nature. No man not similarly situated can imagine the ennui 
which seizes such a nature after it has lain dormant for a few months. Having 
" nothing to do," I thought at first was a very pleasant, as it was to me an entirely 
new sensation. 

" I would like to call on you in the summer, if you have any leisure, in Bridge- 
port," said an old friend. 

" I am a man of leisure and thankful that I have nothing to do; so you cannot 
call amiss," I replied with an immense degree of self-satisfaction. 

" Where is your office down-town when you live in New York ?" asked another 

"I have no office," I proudly replied. "I have done work enough, and shall 
play the rest of my life. I don't go down-town once a week; but I ride in the 
Park eveiy day, and am at home much of my time." 

I am afraid that I chuckled often, when I saw rich merchants and bankers 
driving to their offices on a stormy morning, while I, looking complacently from 
the window of my cozy library, said to myself, " Let it snow and blow, there's 
nothing to call me out to-day." But nature will assert herself. Reading is pleas- 
ant as a pastime; writing without any special purpose soon tires; a game of chess 
will answer as a condiment; lectures, concerts, operas, and dinner parties are 
well enough in their way ; but to a robust, healthy man of forty years' active 
business life, something else is needed to satisfy. Sometimes like the truant 
school-boy I found all my friends engaged, and I had no play-mate. I began to 
fill my house with visitors, and yet frequently we spent evenings quite alone. 
Without really perceiving what the matter was, time hung on my hands, and I 
was ready to lecture gratuitously for every charitable cause that I could benefit. 
At this juncture I hailed with delight a visit from my friend Fish (the enterpris- 
ing Englishman of chapter thirty-second) and his daughter, who came to see the 
new world, and found me just in the humor to act as guide and exhibitor. I 
now resumed my old business and became a showman of "natural curiosities " 
on a most magnificent scale: and, having congenial and appreciative traveling 
companions, and no business distractions, I saw beauty and grandeur in scenes 
which I had before gazed on unimpressed. For the third time I visited Cuba, 
then New Orleans, Memphis, Louisville, Cincinnati, Baltimore and Washington, 
noting and enjoying the emotions of my English friends. The awe with which 
they gazed on the great cataract of Niagara ; their horror at seeing slaves driven 
to work with whips in the plantations of Cuba, the tearful silence of the young 
English lady as she gazed down into the beautiful valley of the Yumurri, the 
disgust of my friend when he found Castle Thunder not a great fort as he had 
unagined, but a tobacco warehouse, all made scenes interesting that were old 
to me. 



In April we niade up a small, congenial party of ladies and gentlemen, ana 
visited California via the Union and Central Pacific Railroads. 

We journeyed leisurely, and I lectured in Council Bluffs, Omaha and Salt Lake 
City, where amongst my audience were a dozen or so of Brigham Young's wives 
and scores of his children. By invitation, I called with my friends on President 
Young at the Bee-Hive. He received us very cordially, asked us many questions, 
and promptly answered ours 

" Bamum," said he, " what will you give to exhibit me in New York and the 
eastern cities?" 

" Well Mr. President," I replied, "I'll give you half the receipts, which I win 
guarantee shall be $200,000 per year, for I consider you the best show in America.'' 

"Why did you not secure me some years ago when I was of no consequence ?" 
he continued. 

" Because, you would not have ' drawn ' at that time," I answered. 

Brigham smiled and said, " I would like right well to spend a few hours with 
you, if you could come when I am disengaged." I thanked him, and told him I 
guessed I should enjoy it; but visitors were crowding into his reception-room, and 
we withdrew. 

During the week we spent in seeing San Francisco and its suburbs, I discovered 
a dwarf more diminutive than General Tom Thumb was when first I found him, 
and so handsome, well-formed and captivating that I could not resist the tempta- 
tion to engage him. I gave him the soubriquet of Admiral Dot, dressed him in 
complete Admiral's uniform, and invited the editors of the San Francisco journals 
to visit him in the parlors of the Cosmopolitan Hotel. 

Immediately there was an immense furore, and Woodward's Gardens, where 
" Dot " was exhibited for three weeks before going east, was daily thronged with 
crowds of his curious fellow citizens, under whose very eyes he had lived so 
long undiscovered. 

Speaking of dwarfs, it may be mentioned here, that, notwithstanding my 
announced retirement from public life, I still retained business connections with 
my old friend, the well-known General Tom Thumb. In 1869, I joined that cele- 
brated dwarf in a fresh enterprise which proposed an exhibition tour of him and 
a party of twelve, with a complete outfit, including a pair of ponies and a car- 
riage, entirely around the world. 

This party was made up of General Tom Thumb and his wife (formerly Lavinia 
Warren), Commodore Nutt and his brother Rodnia, Miss Minnie Warren, Mr. 
Sylvester Bleeker and his wife, and Mr. B. S. Kellogg, besides an advertising 
agent and musicians. Mr. Bleeker was the manager, and Mr. Kellogg acted as 
treasurer. Li the Fall of 1869, this little company went by the Union Pacific 
Railway to San Francisco, stopping on the way to give exhibitions at Omaha, 
Denver, Salt Lake City, and other places on the route, with great success. 

After a prolonged and most profitable series of exhibitions in San Francisco, 
the company visited several leading towns in California and then started for 
Australia. On the way they stopped at the Sandwich Islands and exhibited in 
Honolulu. From there they went to Japan, exhibiting in Yeddo, Yokohama and 
other principal places, and afterwards at Canton and elsewhere in China. They 
next made the entire tour of Australia, drawing immense houses at Sydney, 
Melbourne, and in other towns, but they did not go to New Zealand. They then 
proceeded to the East Indies, giving exhibitions in the larger towns and cities, 
receiving marked attentions from Rajahs and other distinguished personages. 
Afterwards they went by the way of the Suez Canal to Egypt, and gave then 


entertainments at Cairo; and thence to Italy, exhibiting at all available points, 
and arrived in Great Britain in the summer of 1871. 

While I am about it, I may as well confess my connection, sub rosa, with another 
little speculation during my three years' "leisure." I hired the well-known 
Siamese Twins, the giantess, Anna Swan, and a Circassian lady, and, in connec- 
tion with Judge Ingalls, I sent them to Great Britain where, in all the principal 
places, and for about a year, their levees were continually crowded. In all 
probability the great success attending this enterprise was much enhanced, if not 
actually caused, by extensive announcements in advance, that the main purpose 
of Chang-Eng's visit to Europe was to consult the most eminent medical and 
surgical talent with regard to the safety of separating the twins. 

We spent some time in the Yo Semite ; stopping by the way at the Mariposa 
grove of big trees, whence I sent to New York a piece of bark thirty-one inches 

Concluding a most enjoyable trip, we returned to New York, and first of June 
my family removed to our summer home, Waldemere. There the good and 
gifted Alice Cary, then in feeble health, and her sister Phoebe, were our guests 
for several weeks. 

In September, I made up a party of ten, including my English friend, and we 
started for Kansas on a grand buffalo hunt. General Custer, commandant at 
Fort Hayes, was apprized in advance of our anticipated visit, and he received us 
like princes. He fitted out a company of fifty cavalry, ftarushing us with horses, 
arms and ammunition. We were taken to an immense herd of buffaloes, quietly 
browsing on the open plain. We charged on them, and, during an exciting chase 
of a couple of hours, we slew twenty immense bull buffaloes, and might have 
killed as many more had we not considered it wanton butchery. 

Our ten day's sport afforded me a "sensation," but sensations cannot be made 
to order every day, so, in the autumn of 1870, to open a safety-valve for my 
pent-up energies, I began to prepare a great show enterprise, comprising a Mu- 
seum, Menagerie, Caravan, Hippodrome and Circus, of such proportions as to 
require five hundred men and horses to transport it through the country. On the 
tenth of April, 1871, the vast tents, covering nearly three acres of ground, were 
opened in Brooklyn, and filled with ten thousand delighted spectators, thousands 
more being unable to obtain entrance. The success which marked the inaugura- 
tion of this, my greatest show, attended it the whole season, during which time 
it visited the Eastern, Middle and Western States from Maine to Kansas. 

At the close of a brilliant season, I recalled the show to New York, secured 
the Empire Rink, and opened in that building November 13, 1871, being welcomed 
by an enthusiastic audience of ten thousand people. The exhibitions were con- 
tinued daily, with unvarying popularity and patronage, until the close of the 
holidays, when necessary preparations for the spring campaign compelled me to 
close. One of the most interesting curiosities added at that time, was a gigantic 
section of a California " big tree," of such proportions that on one occasion, at 
the Empire Rink, it enclosed two hundred children of the Howard Mission. This 
section I af terwards presented to Frank Leslie, who had it mounted and roofed 
to form a summer-house on his Saratoga estate, where it now stands, a unique 
ornament and attraction. 

During the winter of 1871 and 1872, I worked unremittingly, re-organizing and 
re-enforcing my great traveling show. To the horror of my very able but too 
cautious manager, Mr. W. C. Coup, and my treasurer, Mr. Hurd, I so augmented 


the already innumerable attractions, that it was shown beyond doubt, that we 
could not travel at a less expense than five thousand dollars per day, but, 
undaunted, I still expended thousands of dollars, and ship after ship brought me 
rare and valuable animals and works of art. Two beautiful Giraffes or Camel- 
opards, were dispatched to me (one died on the Atlantic), and a third was 
retained for me at the Zoological Gardens, London, ready to be shipped at a 
moment's notice. As no giraffe has ever lived two years in America, all other 
managers had given up any attempt to import them, but this only made me more 
determined to always have one on hand at whatever cost. 

My agents in Alaska procured for me several immense sea-lions and barking- 
seals, which weighed a thousand pounds each, and consumed from sixty to a 
hundred pounds of fish daily. 

My novelties comprised an Italian goat "Alexis," taught in Europe to ride on 
horseback, leap through hoops and over banners, alighting on his feet on the back 
of the horse while going at full speed. I had also many extraordinary musical 
and other automatons and moving tableaux, made expressly for me by expert 
European artists. 

But perhaps the most striking additions to my show were four wild Fiji Canni- 
bals, ransomed at great cost from the hands of a royal enemy, into whose hands 
they had fallen, and by whom they were about to be killed and perhaps eaten. 

The following happy hit is from the pen of Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, as it 
appeared in that excellent paper of which he was editor, the New York Christian 
Union of February 28th, 1872: 

" Should not a paternal government set some limit to the enterprise of Brother Barnum, 
with reference, at least, to the considerations of public safety ? Here upon our desk, lies 
an indication of his last perilous venture. He invites us ' and one friend ' — no conditions 
as to 'condition' specified— to a private exhibition of four living cannibals, which he has 
obtained from the Fiji Islands, for his traveling show. We have beaten up. in this office, 
among the lean and tough, and those most easily spared in an emergency, for volunteers to 
visit the Anthropophagi, and report ; but never has the retiring and self-distrustful dispo- 
sition ol our employees been more signally displayed. The establishment was not represented 
at that exposition. If Barnum had remembered to specify the • feeding-time,' we might 
have dropped in, in a friendly way, at some other period of the day." 

Perceiving that my great combination was assuming such proportions that it 
would be impossible to move it by horse power, I negotiated with all the railway 
companies between New York and Omaha, Nebraska, for the transportation by 
rail, of my whole show, requiring sixty to seventy freight cars, six passenger 
cars, and three engines. The result is well remembered. The great show visited 
the States of New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, District of Colum- 
bia, Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Minne- 
sota, Wisconsin and Michigan, often traveling one hundred miles in a single night 
to hit good-sized towns every day, arriving in time to give three exhibitions, and 
the usual street pageant at eight o'clock, a. m. By means of cheap excursion 
trains, thousands of strangers attended daily, coming fifty, seventy-five and a 
hundred miles. Thousands more came in wagons and on horseback, frequently 
arriving in the night and "camping out." The tenting season closed at Detroit, 
October 30th, when we were patronized by the largest concourse of people ever 
assembled in the State of Michigan 

With wonderful unanimity the public press acknowledged that I exhibited 
much more than I advertised, and that no combination of exhibitions that ever 
traveled had shown a tithe of the instructive and amusing novelties that I had 
gathered together. This universal commendation is, to me, the most gratifying 
feature of the campaign, for, not being compelled to do business merely for the 


sake of profit, my highest enjoyment is to delight my patrons. The entire six 
months' receipts of the Great Traveling World's Fair, amounted to nearly one 
million dollars. 

When not with the company, I spent most of my time at my ideal home, 
Waldemere, which I enlarged and beautified at a cost of ninety thousand dollars, 
There I had the honor and pleasure of entertaining Horace Greeley, my life-long 
friend, and of arranging for him those simple, healthful country amusements, so 
grateful and refreshing to a care-worn politician. 

In October, I visited Colorado, accompanied by my English friend, John Fish, 
and a Bridgeport gentleman who had an interest with me in a stock-raising 
ranche in the southern part of that Territory. We took the Kansas Pacific Rail- 
road to Denver, seeing many thousands of wild buffalo — our train sometimes 
being stopped to let them pass. The weather was delightful. We spent several 
days in the new and flourishing town of Greeley. I gave a temperance lecture 
there; also at Denver. At the latter city, in the course of my remarks, I told 
them I never saw so many disappointed people as at Denver. The large audience 
looked surprised, but were relieved when I added, "half the inhabitants came 
invalids from the east, expecting to die, and they find they cannot do it. Your 
charming climate will not permit it ! " And it is a fact. I am charmed with 
Colorado, the scenery and delightful air, and particularly would I recommend as 
a place of residence to those who can afford it, the lively, thriving city of Den- 
ver. To those who have some capital and yet have their fortunes to make, I 
say, "go to Greeley." 

We took the narrow gauge road from Denver to Pueblo, stopping at Colorado 
Springs, and the " Garden of the gods." The novel scenery here amply paid us 
for our visit. From Pueblo I proceeded forty miles by carriage to our cattle 
ranche, and spent a couple of days there very pleasantly. We have several 
thousand head of cattle there, which thrive through the winter without hay or 
fodder of any kind. A railroad has just been opened from Pueblo to Trinidad 
which passes through a corner of my ranche. 

At the close in Detroit of the great Western railroad tour, I equipped and 
started South a Museum, Menagerie and Circus, which, while it made no per- 
ceptible diminution in the main body, was still the largest and most complete 
traveling expedition ever seen in the Southern States. Louisville was designated 
as the rendezvous and point of consolidation of the various departments, and the 
new expedition gave its initial exhibition in the Falls City, November 4. Much 
of the menagerie consisted of animals of which I owned the duplicate, and henc<> 
could easily spare them without injuring the variety in my zoological collection 
1 was aware, also, that many of the rare specimens would thrive better in a 
warmer climate, and as the expense of procuring them had been enormous, 1 
coupled my humanitarian feelings with my pecuniary interests, and sent them 

In August, I purchased the building and lease on Fourteenth street, New York, 
known as the Hippotheatron, purposing to open a Museum, Menagerie, Hippo- 
drome and Circus, that would furnish employment for two hundred of my people 
who would otherwise be idle during the winter. I enlarged and remodeled the 
building almost beyond recognition, at an expense of $G0,000, installed in it my 
valuable collection of animals, automatons and living curiosities, and on Monday 
evening, November 18, the grand opening took place. It was a beautiful sight; 
the huge building, with a seating capacity of 2,800, filled from pit to dome with 
a brilliant audience, the dazzling new lights, the sweet music and gorgeous orna- 


mentations completing the charm. The papers next morning contained long and 
eulogistic editorials. 

Four weeks after this inauguration, I visited my Southern show at New Orleans. 
While seated at breakfast at the St. Louis Hotel and perusing an account of the 
flooding of my show-grounds in that city, the following telegram was handed me: 

New York, December 24. 
To P. T. Bamum, New Orleans : 

About 4 a. m. fire discovered in boiler-room of circus building ; everything destroyed 
except 2 elephants, 1 camel. 

S. H. HUED, Treasurer. 

The smaller misfortune was instantly forgotten in the greater. Calling for 
writing material, I then and there cabled my European agents to send duplicates 
of all animals lost, with positive instructions to have everything shipped in time 
to reach New York by the middle of March. I directed them further to procure 
at any cost specimens never seen in America; and through sub-agents to purchase 
and forward curiosities — animate and inanimate — from all parts of the globe. 
I then dispatched the following to my son-in-law: 

New Orleans, December 24. 
To S. H. Hurd, New York : 

Tell editors I have cabled European agents to expend half million dollars for extra 
attractions ; will have new and more attractive show than ever early in April. 


These details attended to, I resumed my breakfast, and took a calm view of the 

Returning to New York, I learned that my loss on building and property 
amounted to nearly $300,000, to meet which I held insurance policies to the 
amount of $90,000. My equestrian company, in which I took great pride, was 
left idle until the opening of the summer season. The members lost their entire 
wardrobes, a loss which can only be appreciated by professionals. The Eques- 
trian Benevolent Society kindly gave them a benefit at the Academy of Music, 
on the afternoon and evening of January 7, 1873. Many stars in the Equestrian, 
Dramatic and Musical firmament volunteered for the occasion, and the two 
entertainments were largely attended. Being called upon to "define my posi 
tion," I stepped upon the stage and made a few off-hand remarks, which were 
reported in the morning papers as follows: 

Ladies and Gentlemen : I have catered for so many years for the amusement of the 
public that the beneficiaries on this occasion seem to have thought that the showman 
himself ought to be a part of the show : and, at their request, I come before you. I sincerely 
thank you, in their behalf, for your patronage on this occasion. How much they need your 
substantial sympathy, the ashes across the street can tell you more eloquently than human 
tongue could utter. " Those ashes are the remnants of " all the worldly goods " of some who 
appeal to you to-day. 

For myself, I have been burned out so often, I am like the singer who was hissed on 
the stage: " Hiss away," said he, "I am used to it." My pecuniary loss is very serious, 
and occurring, as it did* just before the holidays, it is all the more disastrous. 

It may, perhaps, gratify my friends to know, however, that I am still enabled to invest 
another half million of dollars without disturbing my bank account. The public will have 
amusements, and they ought to be those of an elevating and an unobjectionable character. 
For many years it has been my pleasure to provide a class of instructive and amusing enter- 
tainments, to which a refined Christian mother can take her children with satisfaction. 

I believe that no other man in America possesses the desire and facilities which I have in 
this direction. I have, therefore, taken steps, through all my agents in Europe and this 
country, which will enable me to put upon the road, early in April, the most gigantic and 
complete traveling museum, menagerie and hippodrome ever organized. 

It has been asked whether I will build up a large museum and menagerie in New York. 
Well, I am now nearly sixtj-three years of age. I can buy plenty of building sites and get 
plenty of leased lots for a new museum ; but I cannot get a new lease of life. 


Younger members of my family desire me to erect in this city an establishment worthy 
of New York and of myself. It will be no small undertaking ; for if I erect such an estab- 
lishment, it will possess novel and costly features never before attempted. I have it under 
consideration, and within a month shall determine whether or nut I shall make another 
attempt ; of one thing, however, you may be assured, ladies and gentlemen, although confla- 
grations may, for the present, disconcert my plans, yet, while I have life and health, no tire 
can burn nor water quench my ambition to gratify my patrons at whatever cost of money or 
of effort. I shall never lend my name where my labors and heart do not go with it, and the 
public shall never fail to find at any of my exhibitions their money's worth ten times told. 

Before the new year dawned, I received tidings that my agents had purchased 
for me a full collection of animals and curiosities, and by the first week in April, 
1873 — but three short months after the fire — I placed upon the road a combination 
of curiosities and marvellous performances that by far surpassed any attempt ever 
made with a traveling exhibition in any country. Indeed, so wonderfully im- 
mense was M Barnum's Traveling World's Fair " in 1873, that its expenses greatly 
exceeded five thousand dollars per day, and my friends almost unanimously 
declared that it would "break " me. I suppose there is a limit beyond which it 
would be fatal to go, in catering for public instruction and amusement, but I 
have never yet found that limit. My experience is that the more and the better 
a manager will provide for the public, the more liberally they will respond. The 
season of 1ST3 was far from being an exception to this experience. My tents 
covered double the space of ground that I had ever required before, and yet they 
were never so closely crowded with visitors. Where thousands attended my 
show in 1872, numbers of thousands came in 1873. It visited the largest cities in 
Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, 
and the Middle and Western States, as far as St. Louis, Mo., taking Canada on 
the return route to New York. 

While in Cleveland, Ohio, a little incident occurred which was described as 
follows by one of the Cleveland papers; 


Mr. P. T. Barnum's ambition to give the public a better show than any one else can give 
them for the same money is well known, though very few are aware of the jjreat pleasure 
he takes in providing amusement for little children. An incident happening in our city yes- 
terday illustrated this characteristic very strikingly. There is a little five-year-old invalid 
up town who has become quite a favorite with the srreat showman, who never fails to visit 
him in passing through Cleveland. Yesterday mornins the little fellow heard the door bell 
rinj, and his face lit up with joy as Mr. Barnum entered the sick-room. The usual pleasant 
greetings ensued, and the great manager threw his soul into the work of entertaining the 
child as completely as when surrounded by thousands he talks in his great show. The child 
was delighted, but the shadow which is always as near joy as the thorn is to the rose, stole 
over the little "Trot's" face on reflecting that he could not seethe menagerie. '"Never 
mind." said Mr. Barnum, " if you cannot go to the show, we must bring the show to you." 
So saying, he departed, and a half hour later the child and the whole family were astonished 
to see a drove of elephants, camel- and dromedaries marched into the yard, and come to a halt 
near the child's -window. The little one was held up where he could see the animals, and 
their keeper made them go through a regular performance. " Trot " gave his orders to the 
unwieldy elephants, and, by a sign from the keeper, they were all obeyed. In halt an hour 
the matinee terminated, and the detachment of the procession marched back to the show- 
grounds, leaving the child wild with delight. Mr. Barnum's love for the little one- 
been frequently shown by the generous invitations he evervwhere extends to orphans to 
attend his exhibitions free of charge ; but this effort to please a little child is a unique 
illustration of that characteristic. 

Notwithstanding my frequent visits to the "traveling show," I managed to 
spend much of the summer at my delightful " Waldemere." 

In September, of 1873, as I had not visited Europe since 1869, 1 concluded to 
run over and see the International Exhibition at Vienna, and visit other parts of 
Europe, to rest my over-worked brain, and see what could be picked up to 
instruct and edify my amusement patrons. 


On landing at Liverpool, I was met by my old friend, John Fish, Esq., the 
"enterprising Englishman." Mr. Fish was the last friend who shook my hand 
as I left Liverpool in 1859, and the first to grasp it as I landed in 1873. After 
spending a few days at his house, in Southport, the "Montpeher of England," a 
delightful watering-place eighteen miles from Liverpool, I proceeded to London. 
I met many of my old English friends here, including, of course, my esteemed 
friend and faithful agent, Robert FiUingham, Esq., and then hastened on to 
Cologne, Leipsic, Dresden, and Vienna, which latter city I reached ten days 
before the closing of the great World's Fair. Those ten days 1 devoted most 
assiduously to studying the marvels of this great World's Exhibition, and I 
witnessed the ceremonies which terminated what is generally conceded to be the 
largest and best International Exhibition that the world ever saw. I proceeded 
leisurely back to Dresden, stopping at Prague on the way. Thence I went to 
Berlin, and, at each city, I took time to see all that was interesting. While at 
Berlin, I received letters from my Manager, Coup, and Treasurer, Hurd, saying 
they would be able to secure a short lease of the Harlem Railroad property in 
New York, bounded by Fourth and Madison avenues and Twenty-sixth and 
Twenty-seventh streets, containing several acres, for the purpose of carrying out 
my long-cherished plan of exhibiting a Roman Hippodrome, Zoological Institute, 
Aquaria, and Museum of unsurpassable extent and magnificence. I immediately 
telegraphed them to take the lease, and within twenty-four hours from that time 
I was in telegraphic communication with seventeen European cities where I knew 
were the proper parties to aid me in carrying out a grand and novel enterprise. 

I visited all the zoological gardens, circuses, and public exhibitions, wherever I 
went, and thus secured numerous novelties and obtained new and valuable ideas. 

At Hamburg, I purchased nearly a ship-load of valuable wild animals and rare 
birds, including elephants, giraffes, a dozen ostriches, &c, &c. 

I had concluded all my purchases in Hamburg on the eighteenth of November, 
1873, and was taking a few last looks around the city previous to starting for 
Italy, when, on the twentieth inst., I received from my son-in-law, Mr. Hurd, a 
telegraphic despatch announcing the death of my wife on the day previous. 

It is difficult for those who have not had the sad experience, to imagine the 
degree of anguish which overwhelms one, when called to part with a beloved 
companion with whom he has lived forty-four years. That anguish must be 
greatly enhanced when such a death comes sudden and unexpected. But when 
the intelligence is not only unlooked for, but as, in my case, it finds the sorrowing 
husband four thousand miles away from the bedside of his dead wife, alone, in a 
strange land, where his native tongue is not spoken: when he reflects that children, 
grandchildren and other kindred are mourning over the coffin where he is needed, 
and where his poor stricken heart is breaking to be, the utter loneliness of that 
mourner cannot be truly comprehended. Long accustomed as I have been to feel 
that God is good, and that His ways are always right, that He overcometh evil 
with good, and chastens us "for our profit," I confess the "cloud" seemed so 
utterly black that it was hard